Friday, October 9, 2015

New Monarch

This morning a new Monarch butterfly was born.  I watched him as a caterpillar eating milkweed and getting bigger and bigger.  Then, when he had made a beautiful chrysalis, I cut the leaf it was hanging from and placed it inside a net container so that it was protected.  This morning, the normal jade green chrysalis had become completely transparent and the beautiful colors and patterns of the Monarch wings could be seen through the skin of the chrysalis.  Here are some pictures I took:

Nothing happening yet.....

Here we go!

More and more emerges...

The body is about to flop out.  It literally drops down - the butterfly was folded in half inside the chrysalis.  My pictures of this part were blurry.

All out and still wrinkly - has to stretch and dry.

Again and again, the butterfly flexed his wings and I even noticed the segments on the abdomen plumping and flattening from top to bottom.

He twists and turns from side to side gently while hanging from the broken chrysalis.

So beautiful.

There - that looks more like it!

While the butterfly is flexing his wings and abdomen, he is also rolling and unrolling his proboscis and moving what look like fuzzy eyebrows in and out.  His two long antenna remain behind his head during this time.

A different view.

Closeup - you can see the eyes quite clearly.

From this angle I could see him move his wings apart and together, airing them out and stretching them for flight.

Another closeup.

Such color!!

Closeup of the wings - you can see the tiny "tiles" or scales of color that make up each wing.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

First Good Migratory Bird Day Fall 2015

Today was the first day I could spend in the yard without fighting off mosquitos and feeling as if I was surrounded by hot liquid air.  Hurricane Joaquin picked up the cold front headed our way and pulled it through from west Florida to east Florida, as it moved northeast in the Atlantic.  It was cooler than it has been, much drier and breezy.  The butterflies were flitting everywhere, and there were more Monarchs than I have seen in a long time.  I also saw two migrant warbler species - a Prairie Warbler that I got some photos of, and a female American Redstart that I could not get anything but blurs. Below are some of the photos from today.  

At the bottom of the pictures are some Sparrows at our feeders.  I couldn't label them above the picture because Blogger wasn't cooperating. 

A Skipper butterfly

Above and below - the beautiful Prairie Warbler

Below - some posing dragonflies

A couple of Monarchs - one nectaring and one laying eggs

A Gulf Fritillary