I walked a trail lined with milkweed and shadowed by monarchs.
I have high hopes that this trend is happening all over the West. I would like to see the monarchs return to their overwintering sites in California in the hundreds of thousands. That may be a few years away, but I'm doing my part.
Monarchs have been rare in Nevada this year. Just as they have been rare the last decade. But this year is different. This year I have taken action to promote monarch habitat by growing milkweed. In addition I am taking notice of habitat loss. Furthermore I am counteracting habitat loss by planning Fall planting in addition to growing my own butterfly garden. Today my wife said she saw a monarch fly thru our yard yesterday. I know I can make a difference.
The photo above shows a monarch egg that I found on a milkweed leaf in August 2014. From the egg I can see that monarchs are trying to survive. But thru have it hard in the wild. Rarely do more then 5-10% of eggs become butterflies. Often they get devoured as tiny caterpillars. Sad as it may be, it's true.
It's not to difficult to locate the monarch butterflies. For me, I just head to the area that has the highest density of milkweed. Either East or West of Reno I can find sprawling milkweed patches and monarch. The monarchs are not abundant like I would prefer. There are often only one to five that I can identify on any given day. The photo above is the second monarch I saw on August 8th 2014 by Mayberry Park.
On this walk I was poking around every milkweed plant I saw. I was looking to see the progress of the seed pods. I was also inspecting leaves for monarch eggs. Not getting any results for quite a while and nearly running out of fresh water. I was about to call it quits.
I'm glad I persisted. Because seemingly out of nowhere I saw the beautiful monarch caterpillar eating away under a leaf. Careful not to disrupt its appitite I was able to capture the photo above and even a short video that I shared on twitter. See my twitter profile @growmilkweed
It really made my day great seeing that a tiny monarch egg can become a healthy hungry caterpillar. I hope you enjoyed my experience. I look forward to sharing encounters like this with many people as I dpread the word about milkweed and it's popularity among the monarch population.
Make milkweed your friend. Your friends will love your milkweed. My name is Brad. Learn more about me now.
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December 2017 Holiday
June 2015 Monarchs Everywhere
February 2015 Podcast launch
January 2015 Monarch Count
January 2015 Winter 2014
November 2014 - Welcome
October 2014 - Migration