Sunday, August 12, 2007

Birth of a Monarch

Yesterday morning another monarch butterfly hatched in my monarch ranch. Since it was storming outside, I was indoors and able to get a few pictures shortly after she emerged from the cocoon.

Here she is, clinging to the shell of the cocoon. Look how enlarged her thorax is. It's still amazing to me how the butterfly can grow this large inside of that tiny chrysalis.

Her wings were all crinkled up.

She hung from the mesh roof of the monarch ranch for a couple of hours while she pumped fluid into the veins of her wings to help them expand and grow strong enough for flying.

I released her shortly after 2:00 yesterday afternoon, into Monarch Waystation #1515 (which now bears "official" signage).
(Here's what the sign says)

And lest you think I have become totally obsessed with monarchs or that the Monarch Waystation is only for monarch butterflies, here are some pictures of a few other butterflies visiting the Monarch Waystation this afternoon.

Eastern Tailed Blue (Male)

Pearl Crescents

Painted Lady


Mary said...


I am one of your followers! I'll be with you next year doing the same thing. You can be my guide.

Awesome! Just fantastic. You are living in a wonderland.

RuthieJ said...

Thank you, Mary, you are too kind! I hope that people aren't getting tired of all the butterfly stuff I've been posting lately. I'm just so amazed with what I've learned this summer--even at the ripe old age of 48! And just being able to share it is so gratifying--especially when I know other people are inspired to try raising butterflies of their own.

nina said...

Nice job--and you have a right to be very excited about "butterfly stuff"--it's quite an accomplishment!
How's Prodigal Summer--or is it too soon to ask?

Maud said...

Wow. Very interesting pictures! Thank you!

Jennifer said...

I wish you could come to our Butterfly house on August 18th. We are raising monarchs and will let them all go in a classroom at Audubon for people to see up close. Then we'll tag them and set them free outside. Can't cha come? Pleeaazze!

Jayne said...

I just think this is all soooo very cool Ruthie! I love seeing the progres of your ranch and how neat to have the sign declaring your patch of land as an official waystation!

Body Soul Spirit said...

Glad you got those early shots of the butterfly before the wings were dry. I love your other butterfly pictures too. They seldom sit still long enough for me to focus my camera.

MOM said...

Your butterfly pictures are amazing and quite beautiful. How do you get them to sit so still? Do you have to bribe them with something? Aren't you glad to have the butterfly garden so you can see all of these creatures.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Nina,
I'm on Chapter 21 and you were right, I'm really enjoying the book (looking forward to my lunch break today and reading some more!)

Hi Maud,
You're welcome. I'm glad you enjoy the photos. Do you have butterflies similar to this in Finland?

Gosh Jennifer, that sounds so cool. While you're releasing butterflies, I'll be teaching a 2-colored knitting class (indoors), but I'll be with you in spirit. And you'll have pictures on your blog, right?

Hi Jayne,
I'm sure having a lot of fun with these butterflies this summer. That sign worked out just right on the wooden post my wren house is mounted on.

Hi Ruth,
It's hard for me to get those butterfly pictures. About the time the shutter clicks, they usually have their wings closed. Thank goodness for digital because I usually delete 10 pictures for the 1 that's worth keeping.

Hi Mom,
I don't have to get too close to them because of the zoom on my camera and the pictures still turn out pretty good. I was amazed at all these different butterflies in the wildflowers. I've never taken the time to just stand there and see who's visiting.

LauraHinNJ said...

Glad you were able to be home and witness this one - very cool!

Love your waystation sign - was there a fee involved in signing up for that program?

ABQ-B-Fly Guy said...

Great to see your Monarch Waystation "Open" for business, Officially! How cool. I hope you keep posting about the butterflies...great to see all the variety you have there Ruthie.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Laura,
I was glad to see the butterfly emerge too--a good reason to delay Saturday morning chores!
The cost to have my monarch waystation certified was $12.00 Once you're certified, they let you purchase the sign (another $14.95) The monarchs can't read it, but I like seeing it out there in the middle of the flowers.

Hi Ron,
Thanks. I'm glad you're enjoying my pictures and hope you're having the same enjoyment from your own Monarch Waystation.