Magnificient Monarchs

     My family and I were treated to the amazing view of Monarchs migrating through the Dallas/Ft. Worth area today in Plano, TX. We saw them nectaring on these white flowering bushes along a creek near our church which is about 15 minutesfrom my home. We watched them and took pictures with my iPhone for at least 10 minutes. About an hour and a half later, we returned to take some photos with my Sony camera. It was amazing! There were even more now on several white flowering bushes and a few on the ragweed that were blooming.  Hopefully there will be another North wind to push them onto Mexico and their wintering grounds!

Monarchs migrating thru Plano. Oct. 2014

Monarchs migrating thru Plano. Oct. 2014

Monarchs Nectaring in the middle of migrating to Mexico.

Monarchs nectaring in Plano,TX..

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Laura and Monarchs

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Monarchs Plano7

RagweedMonarchsPlano1

Monarchs on Ragweed

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Me and the Monarchs

Success – A Monarch on my Frostweed!

My Frostweed is in full bloom! So I was thinking just yesterday, why am I keeping this 8 foot flower(weed) growing in my yard? The flowers opened a couple of days ago and nothing was on it. I had just about decided even though I had been told that this flower is a butterfly(in particular Monarchs) magnet that it just wasn’t meant to be for me! Today I casually took a look and it was covered with all kinds of bees, flies, tiny flying bugs and a few small butterflies. So I started taking pictures and all of a sudden a Monarch appeared! I was so happy and got lots of pictures while it fed on the flowers. Hopefully this beautiful Monarch will be winging its way to Mexico tomorrow! Scroll to the bottom of this post to see the Monarch pics.

Here is some more info about Frostweed.

http://npsot.org/wp/story/2011/1806/

Frostweed - 8 ft tall

Frostweed and Friends

Frostweed, butterfly, bee

Frostweed&Butterflies

Monarch - closed wing

Frostweed and Monarch and other butterflies

Frostweed and Monarch and other butterflies

Monarch 2014

Monarch with Frostweed 2014

Monarch with Frostweed 2014

Fall Butterflies!

The last 2 weeks I have seen lots more butterfies in my yard and around town. I’ve seen a Monarch in my backyard on a Rose of Sharon. I’ve also seen a few more flying  south to Mexico(I hope!)  as I’ve been driving around in my city. I wish these pics were better, but as you know butterflies don’t stay still to have their pictures taken. :)

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Gulf Fritillary on Turks Cap
Butterfly on Pentas
Butterfly on Pentas
Monarch in a Rose of Sharon
Monarch nectaring in a Rose of Sharon
Monarch passing through town hopefully on the way to Mexico!
Monarch passing through town, hopefully winging its way to Mexico!

Following the Stages of the Gluf Fritillary

     What can I say – I’ve been obsessed with capturing all of the stages of the Gulf Fritillary Butterfly. My Passion Flower Vine is right outside my kitchen window. There have been many of the females laying eggs. There have been quite a few caterpillars that I have then enjoyed watching munch the leaves. I was lucky enough to see one attached and morphing into a chrysalis! I’ve read that most of the time they crawl away and you don’t see the chrysalis’.

     Well, as I was enjoying a cup of coffee and the cool this morning in my backyard, I was lucky enough to spy a butterfly that had just emerged and was drying by its chrysalis. It had crawled a good 25 feet from the Passion Flower Vine to attach itself to the wire! I saw its first flight and it landed on one of my Rose of Sharon plants and continued to dry. I hope you enjoy the following photos. All were taken in my Butterfly Garden.

Searching for a leaf to lay an egg

Searching for a leaf to lay an egg on

Gulf Fritillary Laying Eggs

Gulf Fritillary Laying Eggs

Resting in the midst of laying eggs

Resting in the midst of laying eggs

New Caterpillar with PassionVine

New Caterpillar with Passion Vine

Hungry gulf fritillary caterpillar on passion flower vine

Hungry gulf fritillary caterpillar on passion flower vine

Gulf Fritallary Caterpillar

Caterpillar attached and morphing into a chrysalis

GulfFritJustImerged

Saturday morning surprise! – This gulf fritillary butterfly and just emerged. It had crawled a good 10-12 feet from my Passion Flower Vine and attached itself to this wire!

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Empty Chrysalis

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Gulf Fritillary Butterfly continuing to dry its new wings on a Rose of Sharon.

Following the Stages of the Black Swallowtail

Several caterpillars appeared on my parsley plants. I noticed that the parsley was almost gone, so I made a trip to the grocery store to buy some organic parsley. I brought the remaining caterpillars inside my house and placed them in the container with parsley. I continued to add parsley until they morphed into chrysalis. Once they were both in the chrysalis stage, I took the container out on my back porch where it was protected, but they were back amongst my herbs where they started. They each took 9 days to complete this stage. They emerged 2 days apart! Happily I was able to enjoy seeing each of them before they took flight into the world!

Black swallowtail Fesating on Parsley

Black Swallowtail Feasting on Parsley

Black swallowtail caterpillar inside a plastic container with parsley.

Black swallowtail caterpillar inside a plastic container with parsley.

black swallowtail chrysalis

Black Swallowtail Chrysalis

Black Swallowtail Sept. 9,2014

Black Swallowtail Sept. 9,2014

Butterfly on Chocolate Mint

Black Swallowtail Butterfly resting on my Chocolate Mint.

second black swallowtail Sept 11,2014

Second black swallowtail Sept 11,2014

Happiness is new blooms in the yard!

 I rediscovered today that everyone needs an activity/hobby/exercise that makes you stop worrying and you just enjoy life for a little bit of time. Today mine was watering my flower beds and then taking pictures of my Obedient flowers. They die back and come back every year from their roots and burst into bloom in late August! I love perennials! Enjoy!

Obedient Flowers 2014

Obedient Flowers in Front Yard 2014

Hummingbird Visitor

    

Black Chinned female hummingbird

This Black-Chinned Hummingbird(female) had visited my yard the evening before, choosing to taste the Turks Cap blossoms. I was unable to capture the moment, so I was delighted the next morning when it returned to my yard. It visited my Turks Cap again and my Rose of Sharon. Alas, this is the only photo I was able to snap before it dashed away! The Black-Chinned Hummingbirds fly zone is from the Southern United States and Mexico through British Columbia.