October 4, 2014
Since dusting off my camera and beginning this blog, butterflies have proven to be my most treasured subject.
While writing these posts, I find I am often searching for a way to insert yet another amazing butterfly photo.
As mentioned in previous posts (zinnia joy, fluttery feelings), this is due in large part to my patch of zinnias.
The intoxicating effect of this dainty dish extinguishes the fear of the butterfly, to the human intruder,
which has allowed me to capture several sought after close-up images……
The elusive monarch- king of the butterflies- has not been a willing subject. I have seen a few flitting about
the zinnias, but they did not like my prying camera lens. Finally, after a summer of trying, I captured
this scraggly one in the meadow.
His tattered appearance did not signify ‘king’ to me. How would he make it to Mexico? Maybe, he was
hit by a car?
Then a few days ago, this big fellow showed up in the zinnias. There was nothing tattered about him,
and his effortless gliding made Mexico seem nearby.
As he guzzled the dainty zinnia dish, he had no fear. He seemed a different species than the tattered fellow
in the meadow. Curiously, I googled them and realized I had much to learn.
It is actually the 4th generation of Monarchs that make the 3000 mile journey to Mexico or California.
The first three generations live only 2-6 weeks. After traveling North and laying their eggs, they
die shortly thereafter. The 4th generation, which hatch in the Fall, can live up to 9 months.
Their brilliant orange color is actually a warning to predators. If eaten, they are poisonous. The poison
comes from ingesting a toxin from the milkweed plant which is necessary for their survival.
I will definitely be collecting milkweed seed pods to spread about the prairie this Fall. I am also gathering
zinnia seeds with herculean dreams of zinnia gardens out every window.
The astonishing accomplishments of the monarch make my herculean dreams seem more plausible.
After all, if he can complete a 3000 mile journey, I should be able to plant a few gardens. What an