A Welcome Sight

 

The Monarch drifted by in his bright sunrise colors. He landed on a blade of grass and gently beat his wings. A passing motorcycle startled us both. He flew to the daisy fleabane flowers further away.

It was the first Sunday in July and I was standing by the Great St. Johnswort flowers waiting and hoping for the return of the indigo bunting. The butterfly was my first Monarch sighting of the year! I saw another one fluttering in the flowers in a different part of the garden later in the morning and two more the following Wednesday.

Yesterday, I read about the Monarch butterfly life cycle on the web site of the University of Minnesota Monarch Lab. This beautiful butterfly is most likely a member of the first generation of the summer Monarchs. He could have started his life on a plant here or further south. There were decent sized milkweed plants in this area by the end of May. According to the information on the web site, it takes anywhere from 20 to 37 days for a Monarch to go from a newly laid egg to a larva to a pupa to an adult. The summer Monarch generations live for 2 to 5 weeks. In that time, the female Monarch lays about 700 eggs. The final generation lives up to 9 months. They are the ones who make the fall journey thousands of miles to the over-wintering spots in Mexico and California and then return again in the spring.

I haven’t seen a Monarch caterpillar yet. Now that I know they have returned, I will give the milkweed plants in view a closer inspection.

A male Monarch butterfly in the garden at Jester Park, Iowa, July 2, 2017.

A male Monarch butterfly in the garden at Jester Park, Iowa, July 2, 2017.

A male Monarch butterfly in the garden at Jester Park, Iowa, July 2, 2017.

A male Monarch butterfly in the garden at Jester Park, Iowa, July 2, 2017.

A male Monarch butterfly in the garden at Jester Park, Iowa, July 2, 2017.

A male Monarch butterfly in the garden at Jester Park, Iowa, July 2, 2016.

Take care and thanks for reading.

Sarah

 

About Sarah

nature, outdoor, and health enthusiast, book reader, and story teller
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6 Responses to A Welcome Sight

  1. zirah1 says:

    Love the video clip and delightful bird songs in the background. A nice way to spend part of my Sunday morning! Like being outside while still inside. And I’m so happy you had the monarch sightings. I know you’ve been wondering whether you would see some in your area.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Zirah 🙂
      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I love listening to the birdsong. 🙂 It is instant calm for me. I am happy you enjoyed it. 🙂 The butterfly looked like he was beating his wings in time to the music only he skipped a beat or two in there. I was delighted to see him! I have been keeping a watch for the Monarchs. 🙂 I am curious to see a Monarch caterpillar so I will be walking around inspecting milkweed plants in the weeks to come.

      • zirah1 says:

        HA! I liked the part of him keeping time to the music. p. s. Happy full moon Sunday to you! We had rain much of yesterday, but it’s supposed to be sunny and clear all day today.

        • Sarah says:

          Happy full moon Sunday back to you. 🙂 Rain is good. It sounds like you have a beautiful weather Sunday to enjoy. It is nice here as well. I overslept and didn’t go out with the camera this morning. I did go for a walk here and it was very pleasant. Now, I am taking the opportunity to get caught up on other things. I am doing a study of the flowers this summer for photos as well as drawings and paintings. I find this sort of thing interesting and captivating. I saw a few new flowers blooming when I was walking which I need to look up. I hope you enjoy your day! 🙂

  2. Shady_Grady says:

    What wonderful pictures! Butterflies are cool creatures.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Shady 🙂
      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you enjoyed the pictures. 🙂 Butterflies are really cool. I am hoping to see them at the other stages of their life cycle as well this year. I don’t recall having seen a Monarch caterpillar before. They look distinctive enough that I think I would remember. There are lots of places they could be so it might not happen, but I will be looking for them. 🙂

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