Put out my butterfly feeders several days ago and immediately began to get butterflies. After a couple of days began seeing spring azures, yellow and black swallowtails, a lot of painted ladies and this morning late saw my 1st Monarch. Love to watch the hummers and butterflies dance about and dart through the trees.
Post by Veggie Gal on Jun 16, 2015 14:35:25 GMT -5
All the caterpillars are gone..........Off becoming a chrysalis or a new Monarch butterfly. We've noticed the older butterflies have more ragged wings. We've also noticed new butterflies that have come out of the chrysalis. They look more shiny, they are also fun to watch fly. They seem unstable at first. In the end they leave. We only have a few chrysalis left that we can find. Wishing more Monarch's would visit our Milkweed and lay eggs and start the process again. I would have to buy more plants because the caterpillars ate most of the leaves. Now we are watching to identify other butterflies that visit our yard, thanks to the book and binoculars I surprised my hubby with for a early Father's Day gift.
But what a great first season you've enjoyed! It's really nice to have followed your progress, from deciding maybe a milkweed would be okay to plant, to now becoming a lepidopterist!
I got into a routine of heading up into the mountains here, stopping at a few "hot spots" with plants that were magnets* for butterflies. I could just stand near an aster, covered with flowers, and within minutes the blues and coppers (check your book, Lycaenidae) would come back to nectar at liesure while I snapped pictures galore, trying for "perfect" wingspreads. As the weeks went by, the little guys were more and more raggedy, chunks of wings gone, a few with half a wing missing, yet they still flew.
I read that only two percent of butterflies make it to a natural end, the rest becoming part of the food chain. But while they do live an average of two months, there always seems to be something to watch for well on into late summer. I was just looking for a place to suggest to you and found The Butterfly House in Newport Beach! Might be worth a look.
I'd also expect that UC Irvine probably has somebody wonky enough to match Shapiro for ongoing interest. Now that you can set your sights on looking for a Sonoran Blue:
This is a curious challenge. They are abundant in Anza-Borrego in springtime. A few actually wander north to a small spot near me (close to Auburn) and can be found in small numbers for a week or so in March or April. The eggs hatch late fall, the larva burrows into leaves of Dudleya and spends the winter! Then when it starts to warm in late winter, these great looking little blue butterflies appear to torture me by flying away as soon as I point a camera. I'm sure they must fly somewhere near you. Start planning.
Anyway, continued fun with your new hobby! * Check a nursery to see if they sell "dogbane" (Apocynum ssp.). It's a dry-area, low-growing, nice looking plant that will be covered with butterflies when it blooms bunches of small white-pink flowers. Yes, it grows wild in your local mountains..
Post by Veggie Gal on Jun 17, 2015 11:21:37 GMT -5
Thanks so much Steve for all your great information. We are headed to the Butterfly House this morning. I've already called, they are holding a few native Milkweed plants for me. I just couldn't pass them up. We are having fun and really enjoy our new hobby. My DH is already planning a trip to Anza Borrego next spring and is checking out where we need to go and what to take etc. Too hot there at this time of the year. He started a binder of photo's of butterflies and native plants they like and we plan on making our yard more butterfly friendly. I wonder if I can save seed from the native Milkweed and grow plants from that? It's worth a try. We are on the lookout for the Sonoran Blue, what a beautiful butterfly.
The milkweed is blooming on the driveway...what started as two plants ...I have to get a picture..you really wont have to spread the seed, it will do it all by itself. looking halfway up the drive..it's in a bed of echinacea but they are only 2' so the milkweed is dwarfing it now. I wish I had smell a vision..
Post by Veggie Gal on Jun 19, 2015 11:37:43 GMT -5
We have been faithfully watching 2 Chrysalis and we were rewarded yesterday. We saw both open and the Monarch's spread out their wings. They practiced flying around the yard and eventually flew off. We were sad to see them go. We've decided to think they will make it to Mexico and will send us a picture of them drinking a Margarita.........One was a male and the other a female...........
Post by Veggie Gal on Jun 27, 2015 15:56:47 GMT -5
And we thought it was over !!!! But NO !!!! We have new baby caterpillars. We've had many Monarchs flying around and noticed a few that seemed to stay around and now we see why. We thought they were all from the many chrysalis that were around the yard. We are very happy to raise a few more Monarch's as ]long as the Milkweed leaves hold out. The Milkweed have more leaves again, so hope they are enough to support the new ones.