Thursday, August 6, 2015

It's that time of year again

Yep, it's that time of year when I go back to my childhood and start playing like I'm a kid again. ;) Actually, it's monarch season, and it seems to be becoming something adults do now, too, to try and rescue the dwindling monarch population. I just do it for fun, and if it helps, then it's even better.

Actually, there seem to be plenty of monarchs around here this year, at least compared to a few years where I found NO caterpillars. Maybe because it's been such an awesome summer weather-wise, particularly because of the blessed lack of our normally ever-present wind! Courtney and I have found quite a few monarch caterpillars, and even a number of eggs. The eggs are very tiny, and you have to turn over the milkweed leaves, because they're always on the bottom. Here's what one looks like next to Courtney's fingernail, thanks to my Easy Macro lens:

Below is what one looked like just before it hatched (photo fancied up via an iPad app). The dark spot at the top of the egg is the caterpillar's head.

This next pic is of a newly hatched caterpillar. It's about 1/16" long. It's there on the left, but hardly visible just above the leaf tip on the bigger leaf. On the right is a macro shot next to the pin for comparison.

Below is a 2-day-old caterpillar. It's doubled in size to 1/8" and gotten its stripes!

Fast-forward through the growing stages and into the chrysalis. They always had looked to me like they had glittery bits decorating them, but a macro shot shows that it's just how the light reflects off the colored areas. No glitter.

Another macro shot shows the almost-artistic way the caterpillar makes its web to attach itself to the lid of a jar to hang the chrysalis from. I love it!

Here's a different chrysalis (plus a couple of growing caterpillars) the morning of hatch day:

That was yesterday. It hatched late in the morning, and by late afternoon was ready to be released. It was kind enough to let me have a great photo shoot before it took off for its first flight. It's a girl! :)

Yes, I'm still loving that Easy Macro lens. Have you ever seen a monarch up this close before?!

Okay, quit playing, Grandma G, and get back to sewing. Good progress has been made, but it's not finished yet. Maybe today. I hope!


Geneviève Thiffault said...

I am probably not the only one who enjoy seeing you play with your monarch friends :) It is a good reason to postpone sewing.

Grandma G said...

I won't tell Jess you said that. ;)

LiEr said...

I survived. I looked at ALL the photos in this post. Yes, ALL. I feel a bit woozy and weak, but I didn't chicken out. Let's just say that the butterflies are gorgeous. They really are spectacular. And your macro lens gets such fab shots! Um, I need to go lie down now.

Grandma G said...

Sorry. I should've included a warning at the top of the post. ;) Glad you survived. Thanks for sticking it out... and for your kind words! ❤️

Jenny said...

Those are some amazing photos. I have never seen monarch details so close up. I must admit, the first thing I noticed in the first picture was the blue/green nail polish- it made much more sense when you mentioned it was Courtney's.


Grandma G said...

Thank you, Jenny. Yeah, Courtney's fingernail came in handy. :)

annie dee said...

These are amazing photos, G'ma G. Thanks for sharing. I noticed just the other day that I was seeing more Monarch butterflys around too. It's the one time I'm very happy to see a plant (in particular: the scarlet milkweed) be striped entirely of its leaves!! Go Monarchs!! The caterpillars descend, by the end of the day every leaf is gone and it takes the plant a few weeks to "re-forest" itself. I never see the eggs or chrysalis(es) but I'm sure the're close by. Glad I get to see the rest of the life cycle in your photos.

Grandma G said...

Thank you, Annie Dee! I'm glad you enjoyed the pics. I know I've posted about the monarchs numerous times before, but the macro shots added a whole new aspect this year. Nice that you're seeing greater numbers of the beautiful butterflies, too!