Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Super Monarchs

The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting cooler, and it's time for our Monarch friends to fly south to avoid the cold and snow.  I again was part of the Minnesota Monarch Festival held last Saturday Sept 10th at Lake Nokomis.  I enjoy teaching, and just sharing my love and knowledge about Monarchs with anyone who will listen, so as you can imagine this festival is one of the highlights of my summer.  We tagged and released over 200 Monarchs to send to Mexico.  If you happen to find, or see a tagged Monarch, the tags are a tiny white circle on the hind wing, report your finding if possible.

I have lost track of exactly how many butterflies I have actually released that I raised this summer, but I'm figuring by the time September ends (I still have 4 caterpillars, and 7 chrysalises) I will have released nearly 40 butterflies.  I have also shared them with friends, and neighbors so they can enjoy this beautiful process.  While that is a small drop in the bucket, the lack of caterpillars this summer is a huge concern.  I feel like I should have had more than twice that number if numbers of butterflies were more normal.  If you are reading this and are in the Minneapolis area and would like to help me in this mission I have Milkweed seeds in a MilkCrate at the end of my driveway, please plant Milkweed and butterfly friendly flowers in your garden ( they need SUN) and you too will have butterflies and caterpillars in your garden.  Help me Save the Monarch!

Here is my pretty girl hatched today, and my handsome male!  See if you can identify the difference.
Hint (Male has a black dot on the hind wings....Female does not)  Also if you notice the veins in the male are thinner than the female.  These two butterflies are headed to Mexico....safe travels.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

September 1, 2016 Blog Update

September 1,  Wow this summer has gone fast.  I hope you've enjoyed this blog, and perhaps have learned something about this beautiful creature we call a Monarch butterfly and how/why it's important that we save it!  I am very encouraged at the effort that I see in my own community to create habitat, gardens and allow milkweeds to grow where a few years ago they would have been pulled, mowed, or sprayed!  I want to include some resources on this blog for you to continue to follow Monarchs, and all of our migrating birds and butterflies.  Check out Journey North Website

Journey North engages citizen scientists in a global study of wildlife migration
it's a great website for all things Monarch and beyond.  Another great site is
Monarchwatch.org  it has gifts, resources, plants and information about raising Caterpillars.  Last but not least, if you live in the Minneapolis Metro Area please put the Monarch Festival on your calendar of summer activities Saturday September 10th,  10 AM - 4PM  Lake Nokomis Park, Minneapolis Mn. Monarchfestival.org  It's great festival for kids and parents.  Education tents, face painting, mexican style food, and people dressed up as butterflies!
Finally to report on my end of the season caterpillars.  I hatched a dozen eggs last week.  I gave away 5 caterpillars to neighbors to help me raise.  I currently have 3 chrysalises, 1 3rd instar, and 9 2nd instar babies.  When they are all big enough to take a photo of I will post.  You can't imagine how small these caterpillars are when they first hatch.  They are very difficult to keep track of!  They are all big enough now that I can see them, but not really big enough to show up in a photo, but all of them will eventually fly to Mexico!