Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Monarch Migrations

The Barons of Butterflies, the Lords of Lepidoptery, the Emperors of Insects, the Dictators of Danaus Plexippus, the...ahhh...ahhh...Monarch butterfly, a gently floating winged thing of bountiful beauty.

Are you still reading? Hard to believe. This is the time of year that the Monarchs are really starting to congregate in our butterfly garden. An appropriate place, is it not? We signed up with Monarch Watch last summer, a great program for helping with gardening for butterflies and getting information on tagging them also. We still haven't gotten around to that yet...But we do have a lovely garden, full of Milkweed and other blooming flowers for the butterflies as well as the bees and other insects and of course the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are VERY happy with the garden.

If you look closely at the top photo, you'll notice a surprise in there. After I took the photo and looked at it on the computer, I noticed a Monarch Caterpillar in the background! Happy accidents are great!

Monarchs are the only butterflies that make such a long migration, up to 3000 miles! That's longer than my drive to work! Their migration is only one way, and they fly to the same roosting spots every year. Their children are the ones that work their way back north the following year.
Start watching now as their migration starts in late August.

This is from a past summer. The vast number of Monarchs on this tree was amazing to behold. The color and the movement was astounding, I wish I had a video for you. In the mean time, just wiggle your monitor back and forth...

Doesn't that nectar look delightful and delicious?

Oops, I shouldn't be a voyeur, but you need to document everything in nature!
These Monarchs are making more Monarchs.

One last photo of the Butterfly Tree! This is common for them to roost in large groups. As the sun warms them in the morning, they will be back on their merry Monarch way!

Mother Doodles (aka Laurie's mom) is going to the hospital for surgery on Thursday morning. Please think good thoughts for her. Thanks!

Monday, August 10, 2009

"Where the Tree Swallows Grow"

Yes children, it's true. Tree Swallows grow on trees. THAT'S the real and honest reason they are called Tree Swallows. And as you can see by the photograph above, indisputable proof I might add, those are young Tree Swallows, ripe and ready to burst forth.

And you thought my blog was just full of silliness! You can learn all sorts of great stuff here!

This is another Swallow tree at the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.
If you ask in the Visitor's Center, they might tell you where to find these trees, but I think they want it kept a secret, shhhh.
Tell them, Dave says hello!

This is a rare "Tree for Three" Tree Swallow Tree.

And here's a mature adult preparing to plant a Swallow seed on this tree.

"Excuse me, dear, up here! I think you're on the wrong side of the tree!"

I had to sneak up on these two just as they were planting seeds along this seemingly dead tree. Just wait until we get a little rain...

Every once in a great while, Tree Swallows will grow on wire fencing, very rare sight.
In late summer, there is a sub-species that grow on utility lines.

Here's a not to bright fellow trying his luck on a block of wood. Survival of the fittest, little buddy!