Saturday, September 21, 2013

Monarch Watch

Somehow in grade school, 
I missed the part where the students stand around a jar 
and watch a butterfly emerge from a cocoon, 
and I've always felt like my education wasn't quite complete.

So, a few years back, when I saw a monarch chrysalis attached to one of the flowers in our flowerbed, I was delighted to be positioned in the inner circle around the jar.  For several days, I watched the soft green cocoon, with its bright spots of shiny gold, until the small jewel became translucent, and the familiar black and gold of a monarch, though faint, began to show through.

We had to make a day trip out of town, and when we can back, the first thing I checked was the cocoon.  We were only gone the better part of one day, but during that time, the contents of the bright green and gold package had flown away, and all that remained was a limp, empty skin.

It wasn't until recently that I saw one again.  
Last week, six fat monarch caterpillars ate their way 
through the butterfly milkweed plant near the house...

When they were quite satiated, they made their way off, one by one.  
I located three of them later,
 hanging limp on the underside of leaves of nearby plants.

The transformation came overnight.

We woke in the middle of the night Thursday to the sound of pounding rain, 
and I wondered about those small green treasures,
but in the morning they were fine.

It's supposed to take about ten days for a butterfly to emerge,
and I have my calendar marked.

Stay tuned.

Linking with Weekly Top Shot


  1. Is it not just one of the most magical processes you have ever witnessed in nature... I got to see this happen across the lane a couple of years ago. Our counts are so down on Monarchs and all butterflies this whole season. Thankful for this creation along with all others...feeling blessed~

  2. What an exciting post to read....I don't think there is anything more fascinating than watching a worm become a butterfly....i will look forward to seeing the next stage....

  3. These are great shots. Looking forward to the "release."

  4. Isn't it just about the most incredible thing ever! You will know when the time gets close, it will start turning dark and then it will get black and you will see the wings through the chrysalis. I have released over two hundred raised on my dining room table. It happens in the blink of an eye, seriously don't look away or you will miss it!

    I'm working on a series from egg to butterfly, trying to go through literally thousands of photos from this summer. So excited for you to witness this miracle in person!

  5. I hope you catch at least one while hatching. A couple of weeks ago we were thrilled to watch (for the first time) a butterfly hatching, an Australian Jezebel (September 11th post). We found two chrysalises, not knowing what butterfly they would become. Very exciting!

  6. How fortunate you are to be able to witness this little miracle, Connie. Your photographs of it are just beautiful.

  7. i thought it was forever since i had seen a Monarch - i recall my schooling years when we did some thing similar. we got to see one out west - it was breathtaking. great times. wish they would show up in Virginia. ( :

  8. They are so very well and nicely captured. We have lots of butterflies in our garden but i can't seem to find the pupa, wonder where they are hiding.

  9. Fantastic pictures.. Well done.. Regards..

  10. How wonderful to capture these different stages of the caterpillar to chrysalis and I really hope you are there when the butterfly emerges and look forward to future beautiful photography and enjoying all of these now!

  11. Fantastic shots- and how fascinating to watch the butterfly emerge.

  12. MAGNIFICENT shots!! The details are great!

    Mersad Donko Photography

  13. No matter your age, it's quite exciting to be a part of this process. How wonderful for you!

  14. I've never seen that transformation either... I'm looking forward to your new photos.. isn't God's creation just simply amazing! Thank you for coming by sharing your creative photography on Weekly Top Shot #101!

  15. Oh my goodness, Connie, what clean clear exciting images!

  16. Such a wonderful, magical event to witness. These photos are beautiful.

  17. Amazing captures! This is so fascinating!

  18. looks like such an amazing process. I will definitely keep a watch out for this emergence.


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