The Monarchs are all gone. We released the last one on 10/7. Look at this sad sight:
But, here's some fun:
Not your typical cocktail hour...
I was up to the North Shore with my parents for almost a week, and that left Shannon in charge of tagging and releasing. He did an excellent job, and I think he now has an even stronger appreciation for the joy of watching them fly into the wild. During my last call from the road, I told him that when I got home the next day I'd release the last 2 he had emerge too late in the day to be released. I got this, "Nooooooo, I'll do it." He's so amazed that we got over 50 cats off the swamp milkweed in a patch of just 100 square yards. So, our stats: Round 1 - 9 eggs and 3 cats taken in. 4 cats died, 8 butterflies released. All released butterflies were females. Round 2 - 58 cats taken in at various instars. 6 had tachinid flies, 2 died, and one butterfly had to be killed because it emerged deformed. 49 butterflies released, but only 48 were tagged for Monarch Watch, as one female made a mad dash for the wild when she spotted an open door and got away without a tag. Tagged were 24 females and 24 males. Our success rate is over 81%. I'll take it! Sure beats less than 10% in the wild. Here are a few pollinator shots I got up on the Canada border:
The pollinators are thinning rapidly. A pretty serious frost the other night probably about did in most of the food sources. So, to my beloved neighbors, it's time to bid you adieu until next spring. Here's hoping the world will be of a more appreciative nature when you return next year. Rose and I will do our best to see to it.