Monarch Butterflies Mean Fall in the Hill Country

Saw my first Monarch of the season on campus the other day hanging around the trash barrels outside JC. Sometimes the variety of wildlife on our campus is rather jarring. Like don't ever, ever pick up a dead bat. And there are jillions of bats in Austin, not only under the Congress Street Bridge. They're behind signs in every strip mall. They are under most every bridge up and down Lady Bird Lake (I love that!).

Hope there are more. Monarchs, not dead bats. I can remember an October in north Texas when the Monarchs coated the wisteria, trees, bushes, any leaf or twig for several days, then move on. That was in '54 or thereabouts. We see very few these days. Still, it's a gas that the Hill Country is on the flight paths of most all migrating songbirds and butterflies.

Here's a fantastic educational science site for elementary grades. That's where I got the photo of the butterfly, BTW. Excellent resource for any age :)

I had forgotten that the Viceroy butterfly mimics the Monarch, rather like a Monarch in clown face. Features just slightly overdone. This is a Viceroy--can you see the difference?


Kay Dennison said...

I haven't seen a Monarch butterfly in years!!!! I always loved them as a child as they fluttered around my mom's flower beds.

kokopelliwoman said...

Yeah, Kay, you rarely see any these days. Just saw a news clip about a S. American tribe down to six members, all past child-bearing, so we will lose another entire homo sapiens group in our lifetime.

Suzz said...

I have a host plant (Dutchman's Pipe vine) for swallow-tail butterflies in my backyard and summer turns into a feeding frenzy. This summer, the caterpillars ate the large vine right down to the bare stems. It was a thrill to watch them grow, disappear into their paper-like cocoons, then emerge as adults to go to where ever they go for the winter.

kokopelliwoman said...

Wow, I'd love to see that. I'll have to look up Dutchman's Pipe, I'm not familiar with it.