Butterflies, Dragonflies, and Bumblebees

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Eliza Waters is a wonderful advocate for wild creatures of all sorts, but she has a special interest in Monarch butterflies.

We have been corresponding this spring about the plight of the Monarch.  She has been involved in creating habitat for them.  And she responded to the post with photos of a Monarch  we found near Yorktown, Virginia, in late May.

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We found this Monarch on May 23, 2014. There was no sign of Monarchs today, sadly.

Eliza asked, earlier today, whether we had found any eggs or signs of Monarch larvae on the Milkweed by the pond where we have been watching for butterflies.

So my partner and I returned this evening, to see what we might see.

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We found the Milkweed plants just covered in bumblebees, feasting on their tiny flowers just as the flowers were opening.  And the bumblebees were so blissed out on the wonderful nectar, they were totally oblivious to my presence.

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Just inches away, they continued to feed while I took photos.

But in the entire time we explored, there was only one small butterfly or moth.  I don’t know its name, but suspect it is a moth.

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Not a single Monarch to be found.  And at Eliza’s suggestion, I searched for signs of eggs or larvae on the Milkweed plants.

I”m so sorry to say that I couldn’t locate either.  The Milkweed leaves look pristine- no larval munching.  I checked the closest Milkweed plants and found no eggs, either.

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Perhaps the Monarch did lay her eggs on one of these plants closer to the pond; one I didn’t climb down the bank to inspect.  Let us hope that is the case.

And we’ll continue to check back from time to time to see what evidence we may find as the summer unfolds.

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Today we were happy to find a brilliant blue dragonfly.

He was quite happy to sit still while I snapped off several portraits of him.

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He was watching me, but didn’t even flinch until I moved away.  He was a great sport, and I appreciate his patience.

The swans have moved on, too.  But we found Egrets wading further down the road.

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Early summer brings such a pageant of life to our community.

We enjoy the staccato music of the frogs and the basso continuo buzzing of bees under the melody of birds calling to one another.

So much life, and such beauty.

All Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

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About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

7 responses to “Butterflies, Dragonflies, and Bumblebees

  1. I, too, wondered if you have read Barbara Kingsolver’s book (“Flight Behavior”). I read it last year. It was a fascinating story about monarch butterflies. I saw my first monarch back on the Eastern Shore about a week or two before your first sighting and wonder if it’s usual to see them that early. Here in the Bogs (NE Ohio), we don’t usually see them until late June. I noticed on my walks the past few days that there is plenty of milkweed. I planted some years ago, and it seems to be spreading around the property in various patches here and there.

    Your dragonfly is beautiful.

  2. I wonder if you or Eliza have read Barbara Kingsolver’s “Flight Behavior?” All about what happens to a small town in Tennessee when millions of monarchs decide to make their home in a small valley nearby. I have lots of milkweed in the pastures around us. What do I look for?

    • Dear Barbara, I have not read “Flight Behavior,” but it sounds interesting and I’ll see if it is on Nook. Look for deposits of tiny eggs on the leaves and stems, and look for obviously chewed leaves. The caterpillars are tiny when they emerge- less than 1/4″ but they grow very quickly. If you go back in the comments on my posts this week Eliza has given excellent information on how long the eggs gestate and how many days from when the larvae emerges to when it makes its chrysalis. I certainly hope you find some! Would love to see photos, Barbara. We are off to Forest Lane again this morning 😉 So sorry you won’t be with us 😉 We are taking a friend from our community for her first visit. Should be a beautiful day in the Wubbel’s garden.. Best wishes, WG

  3. I really like your blue dragonfly and the monarch! 🙂 How is your grand daughter?

  4. Thanks for the pingback. I’m glad you checked out the milkweed at the pond, even if you didn’t find any larva. Let’s not give up hope that there may be some small instars out in the field. The Blue Dragonfly was very handsome, however!

    • We will keep hope alive, and expect to find the next generation there soon 😉 Mr Personality certainly is photogenic, isn’t he? A pleasure to check out the pond again. Such a lovely evening here. Best wishes, WG

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