Monarch butterflies and Milkweed plants have played an important role in our retirement lives focused on nature. We allow the plants to grow mixed in with garden plants despite their deep extensive roots because food for the caterpillars is deemed to be an absolute necessity. Many of the plants carry no leaves at this time of year and we interfere by mowing large areas of plants. After July first we no longer mow and those plants still have the leaves necessary for butterfly production. Butterflies have been numerous here this year but the ravages of age combined with hot days have limited our outdoor time. We have yet to see a Milkweed leaf providing food for a growing caterpillars or a chrysalis containing a developing butterfly. The process has continued without us and numerous new butterflies are feeding on our flowers.
Most of the time a feeding Monarch closes its wings above its body but this morning was different. The overnight fog and dew had everything outside wet this morning. The butterflies kept their wings flat and open while feeding to allow their wings to dry. Great pictures seldom seen presented themselves. If the approach was deemed too close, the butterfly simply flew away.
These two photos may be of the same male butterfly. There is a black colored vein that connects the heavy black line at the edge of a wing with a similar line centered on the body. The larger area of black on this line identifies this one as a male. That feature is more clearly visible on the right wing in the first photo.