Monday, July 20, 2020



I said I wouldn't raise Monarchs this year, but two things made me change my mind. 
  • Many reports of population decline 
  • A visitor left a lot of eggs in my yard
This made me feel like it's my civic duty to try to help out Mother Nature.
I may have been mistaken in thinking that starting with eggs only would side-step the threat of T-fly. Folks online tell me that is still possible but reduced chance.

July 19

Mama #1 
First Monarch spotted in our yard, possibly the first Monarch of the year for me.
This lovely Swamp Milkweed was transplanted less than a year ago from Dad's, and it's doing great with wonderful flowers. My Common Milkweed patch (started from seed) is two years old I think, but still not flowering.
After taking this picture I decided to look for eggs and found 33 (a few of which came not from this Swamp MW but the Common patch on the North side of the house).
I decided to rinse them in bleach solution to prevent OE but when I got to the last one it was already eating his way out of the egg. No rinse for that one.

July 20

 Mama #2, I think I can safely say a different individual.

 No doubt about it, that's a recent egg. I was all over that plant yesterday, you can see where I cut an egg out of the leaf so no way could I have missed this one!

 Here she is laying on the top side of the leaf which seems to happen less often.

 Laying eggs in the flowers is new to me.

 I thought this was the common approach, to lay the egg under the leaf.

 How many eggs can you see in this shot? I see five but collected six from this flower. Egg number 5 is barely visible, one nodule to the right of the top one. It's a combined image BTW, for depth of field.

I certainly didn't notice this one yesterday (on Swamp) but that doesn't mean it wasn't there. Sorry for lack of scale, but very very small. 6-1/2 hours later I put him at 4mm, virtually the same as the first hatchling (now roommates).

July 23, new close-up lens for Canon SX60 Powershot.

Here you can see the caterpillar in the egg. 
Probably chew it's way out in the next hour or so. 
Note: I watched until 12:15am but of course nothing happened.

July 24

Some of today's finds.

July 27

High-tech coupling of Dick Tracy two-way wrist radio with lens from (probably) an 8mm movie projector. I was surprised at the results (next four shots/video)

The egg on the left was deposited a couple of days ago on parsley, by the Black Swallowtail I pictured that day. The egg on the right is a Monarch-to-be.

These are two separate individuals, side by side with the same millimeter scale. I suspect the top one is but a day old, the bottom maybe four.

When they get fat enough to outgrow their skin, they shed it. The face plate pops off.

Lens mount upgrade!

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