Friday, September 18, 2009
It's A Girl?
Today was the day. The monarch emerged sometime after 11:30. We missed the actual event, arriving home in time to take the picture above. What had started out to be a sunny day became over cast and threatening. Strong wind gusts and scattered rain caused us great concern. The butterfly hung on the mallow close to the chrysalis for several hours.
Such a beautiful and complicated creature. This butterfly, born at the stone wall garden, will feed then head south. If she makes it through the entire migration , she will spend the winter in Mexico. We are located near the confluence of two valleys. Topography concentrates the migrating butterflies as they fly over us. We have seen no signs indicating that the migration is underway. For now our butterfly is free to feed on our flowers in preparation for her journey. How she knows this is a mystery to me.
It was after 4:00 when I finally got a chance to catch her with open wings.
Mature males display two dark scent glands visible on the wings. The absence of these markings suggests that ours is female but reproductive organs are incompletely developed at this stage. Whatever the reality we will look for a bright new Monarch tomorrow and wish her well when it is time for her to leave.