Hummingbirds and butterflies have dominated the garden over the last two weeks, and there is so much I could share. The big story is that I discovered a green Monarch chrysalis and watched it carefully for several days. On Friday, 8/31/18 the color began to change and a bit of orange and black became visible. I checked it first thing on Saturday, 9/1/18 and the metamorphosis was nearly complete! I didn't dare leave my post. Once the outer casing begins to open, the Monarch fully emerges within less than a minute. I watched and waited. Oh! Did it just move??
Yes, barely a minute had elapsed. The butterfly hung on, swinging to and fro. How tiny the wings, how huge the abdomen! How in the world did all of that fit inside the chrysalis? The wings must fill with fluid and stiffen, the Monarch will hang for nearly two hours before it can fly. It will eliminate waste a few times in this process and this liquid is also orangey in color.
It's a BOY! The swollen black vein on the hind wing tells us that. It moved higher on the stem, slowly opening and closing its wings. How wondrously strange and new it must feel to have changed form so completely.
At this point, the breeze had picked up. I carried the butterfly carefully down to the garden so it could rest in a sheltered location and nectar at the flowers when it was ready.
To view all the photos from the Monarch's emergence from its chrysalis, begin here: Emergence of the Monarch
Ruby-throated Hummingbird numbers have really increased with all the young birds around, chasing each other endlessly. They're learning about the world around them, nectaring at flowers and feeders, perching on stems and sculptures, and getting stronger every day. The adult males have their ways of keeping them in line, showing their dominance.
There have been a few migrants showing up as well. Magnolia, Blue-winged, and Tennessee Warblers have been trickling in with a few other birds.
Heavy rains are here and a cool down is expected. With that, more migrants should be moving through and it will start to feel like fall.