Make That 54
You can't walk by a milkweed plant on the way to the studio and not spot a caterpillar, it seems. This photo doesn't include the 4 parasitized ones or the one hanging in my office.
This is the first of my Mexico-bound brood. It should be emerging anytime now. I'm hoping to tag and release it before the day's over. I really worry that a lot of the ones still in the larva stage won't make it...
And then there's Number 46:
How this one got to this spot and this stage without me ever noticing it, I cannot imagine. I've started entertaining the thought that the Monarchs on our property know they've got it good here and want to be included in the protective custody project. Rose says she really believes they're coming to me, and Shannon thinks the multitude showing up on those 4 mature and couple smaller plants in front of the studio are from my previous releases. I'm thinking they're so thick here because that beautiful milkweed stand down by the creek was decimated by the recent flooding. The other evening, I was walking out by the studio and 2 Monarchs started flying circles around me. They were much closer than I ever expect them to get to people, and one of them seemed like it was playing a game of chicken with me; it flew right at me at eye level, then veered off before we collided. I was nearly in tears over the way these 2 seemed to want to hang out and interact. They left when Shannon came out of his office. Some people have noticed "imprinting" behavior with Monarchs, and I love the idea and feel like I've seen evidence of it with mine, but I'm trying to keep my anthropomorphizing to a minimum... Summer is coming to a close, and it sure looks like this Eastern Swallowtail has had a wild turn at it:
It amazes me that these delicate creatures can become so tattered and still carry on. And still be so beautiful... But, along with late summer comes a bed of sedum and a whole lot of sweet nectar to swig:
Here's hoping your summer is winding down in such lovely decadence...