Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Butterfly Food

The Unadilla River provides a north south valley for much of its length.  Near our land a westerly jog greatly lengthens the distance required if the river is followed rather than just flying south.   Migrating animals fly over our land and home to efficiently use their energy.  Butterflies and geese are commonly seen at this time of year.  As the brown flowerheads on the goldenrod show, food is getting scarce for the Monarchs.  As a result fewer are seen now.  On a recent trip across my mowed path, I came across two butterflies on the green path.  No flowers were seen there but the grass was heavily wet with dew.  My best guess is that the butterflies were taking on water.  As I moved carefully past them, one flew up and stayed even with me flying high enough to be adjacent to my head.  Those were special moments.

The Goldenrod in the first picture has grown without any human interference.  In an attempt to keep the high meadow free of invasive shrubs, I tried to keep it mowed.  The entire field was cut once but subsequent visits only cut parts of it.  After July first, mowing was discontinued allowing the Milkweed and Goldenrod to grow.  The stems are shorter and the flowers appeared later but this Goldenrod is still in bloom.  As the Monarch migration wound down, most of the butterflies seen were in this meadow.  Also this late in their year, we saw several newly emerged butterflies with damaged or incomplete wings.

This brightly colored perfectly formed new arrival is feeding on Amy's marigolds.  They were planted late so these flowers are young and fresh.  With the butterflies moving to the south and the wooded hillsides sporting bright colors we know what lies ahead of us.  Days like this are few in number and we try to enjoy as many of these special moments as we can fit into a day.

1 comment:

Beth at PlantPostings said...

Lucky you; I haven't seen monarchs here in at least a week. But I did see many of them along the southeastern Lake Michigan shoreline last weekend when we were visiting friends. Enjoy the last weeks of the growing season. :)