This Year...

Years ago when visiting our coast, I wondered where all of my childhood bumble bees had gone. When I was a small child, they loomed large in my short view of the landscape. I went to the bookstore and purchased a copy of "The Forgotten Pollinators" by Stephen Buchmann which explained what had happened to many of our native bees. Wanting to help, I began volunteering at Louse Hallberg Butterfly Gardens. Much later, I began hiking in our local parks and was greatly relieved to see the diversity of butterflies and bees in their much more intact habitat of Hood Mtn. Regional Park. I am truly grateful for the foresight of so many individuals who have done so much to preserve our wild places.

Poverty of experience. When walking on the Santa Rosa Creek Trail, I once pointed out a small flock of about 50 birds practicing their turns in group flight to my companion saying, "Its so sad how few birds there are now." She retorted, "That's a lot of birds." She had moved here from Southern California. I had been raised here. I recall flocks of 5,000 birds in vast clouds rehearsing their flight plans over my neighbor's barn. I remember many hundreds sitting on the powerlines. Even as recently as five years ago, I remember watching the bats on the Santa Rosa Creek Trail at dusk. Where are they now? So many are gone. The ancestors of our Native Americans reported that you could once hear the sound of the salmon run coming upstream. I feel the poorer for never having heard it but delight in the knowledge that it could be heard.

Last year, I don't recall seeing a single Monarch butterfly. This year I planted milkweeds in my tiny garden along with nectar plants that provide a good landing pad for the large Monarchs. This year I have been rewarded by one Monarch who, over the course of two days, laid about two dozen eggs. As I learned from one of Louise's very old books on the subject, I carefully collected each leaf where I found an egg and taped the leaf to heavy paper. After about four days, the eggs turned dark and then hatched. With a soft brush, I transferred the caterpillars to their host plant where they will grow large and cute. This year I anticipate having a Monarch reveal party when I will release a small cloud of orange and black butterflies. If it were only so easy to raise bats...

Anotado por arlenedevitt arlenedevitt, 22 de septiembre de 2020 a las 05:51 PM

Observaciones

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Mariposa Monarca (Danaus plexippus)

Autor

arlenedevitt

Fecha

Septiembre 17, 2017 01:07 PM PDT

Descripción

Spotted at Harmony Nursery resting on the Tithonia aka Mexican Sunflower plant.

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Algodoncillo de Hojas Delgadas (Asclepias fascicularis)

Autor

arlenedevitt

Fecha

Agosto 14, 2016 09:48 AM PDT

Fotos / Sonidos

Autor

arlenedevitt

Fecha

Agosto 13, 2017 11:38 AM PDT

Descripción

on narrow-leaf milkweed

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Mariposa Monarca (Danaus plexippus)

Autor

arlenedevitt

Fecha

Agosto 16, 2020 07:51 PM PDT

Descripción

I am celebrating this first Monarch butterfly photographed by my brother in law. Last year was such a poor year for Monarchs in Sonoma County that I don't recall seeing one. This year I have planted Milkweed, and I am ready.

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Mariposa Monarca (Danaus plexippus)

Autor

arlenedevitt

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Descripción

First photo: Monarch ovipositing on Narrowleaf Milkweed. Second photo is enlarged to show her curved abdomen as she lays the egg. Third photo is of two butterfly eggs on Milkweed. Flower is garden variety Lantana.

Note: Monarch preferentially laid on the narrow-leaved milkweed. I groom the milkweed following examination for eggs by gently rubbing off the yellow aphids.

9/19/2020 See photos of hand-raised caterpillars (first instar) at https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/60160721

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Mariposa Monarca (Danaus plexippus)

Autor

arlenedevitt

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9/19/2020 This is a photo of first instar Monarch caterpillars. I collected milkweed leaves from my garden on which the Monarch had laid her eggs on 9/14/2020. These hatched this morning and were transferred to fresh milkweed via a fine, soft paint brush. By the end of the evening, they had already eaten holes through the leaves. Additional photos reveal part of the process and some caterpillars eating their egg shells before moving on to milkweed.

Photos of the Monarch laying the eggs over two days may be found at https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/59638736 and https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/59635883. The butterfly strongly preferred the Narrow-Leaf Milkweed over the Asclepias Curassavica even though both species were in good condition.