I haven’t been seeing that many butterflies lately, but Monarchs have been a constant. I’ve been seeing Monarchs steadily since June in small numbers in lots of Massachusetts locations, more than the usual number. Since Monarch numbers here peak around fall migration, this may be a good year for Monarchs and for observing Monarch migration.
Most often I’ve see single female Monarchs hovering looking for good places to lay eggs in milkweed patches. Sometimes I see a female perch and arch its abdomen to the underside of a leaf to lay an egg. At one spot I visit frequently I looked for caterpillars and found several – at a spot where I’d seen hovering females in previous weeks. Here’s one. It looks big in the image, but it was actually just a half inch or so:
This was taken a week or so ago. I checked the same place this week, and there were no caterpillars left – they became bird food or were taken by another predator I suppose. Proportionally few Monarchs make the full journey from egg to flying adult.
The monarch are stunning butterfies. Unfortunately very rare in my part of the world (the Netherlands). Apperently the caterpillars are very beautiful too- never seen one. Such a pity most of them are eaten. Though the birds probably think otherwise.
This picture is wonderful… I like the light and the colours…