My first monarch of the year!

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I’ve missed having monarchs (Danaus plexippus) in the yard this summer, and was delighted to see one nectaring on our Joe-Pye weed (Eupatoriaum fistulosum) recently. However, I didn’t have the camera and didn’t manage to document it.

Joe-pye weed
Joe-Pye weed, a good nectar source for monarchs and other pollinators

Later in the day I managed to photograph this monarch on the non-native Annual or Tropical Milkweed (Ascelipas curassavica). It seemed to be glad for the source of nectar.

My first monarch photographed this yearI’ve also been quite pleased to hear of several other recent sightings of adult butterflies, eggs and caterpillars in the area. Are you seeing any monarchs near you?

11 thoughts on “My first monarch of the year!”

  1. Nope, no monarchs, but I’m on my third set of swallowtail caterpillars. They seem to gravitate to the bronze fennel – and the adults surprisingly – to the zinnias, especially the big “Green Envy”. I’ve had the pipevine swallowtails and the tiger swallowtails both, but not in huge numbers. I’ve got lots of Joe Pye Weed in my yard, but mostly bees and flower flies are feeding on it. I have several different kinds of goldenrod that, at least in the past, have attracted some smaller butterflies – we’ll see what happens this year . . .

    1. Glad to have your report, Kathy. Sounds to me like a pretty good butterfly summer. Glad to know of your luck with adults nectaring on zinnias. I’ve also had black swallowtails on green fennel and have raised several pipevines. I’m still hoping you’ll see a monarch or two.

  2. Hi Betty, beautiful pics! I’ve been meaning to tell you that I saw a Monarch on a walk in town a week or two ago but now I’ve seen another. Just last night sitting on my back deck with friends from out of state we got ‘buzzed’ by a Monarch. It was really flitting around quite fast and swooped around us in a circle before disappearing into the next yard. It was quite a nice show and I was glad to see one in my own yard. Thought you’d be glad to hear that some Monarchs are showing up in Utah!

    1. Yes, indeed, Keli. Thank you. And I can’t think of anything I’d rather be ‘buzzed’ by than a Monarch. 🙂

  3. Sorry to say no Monarchs sighted in my yard in Virginia Beach. I did order some cats from Monarch Watch to try to help the population and they are eating and doing well. Also sad…absence of Buckeyes, Gulf Frittillaries, Red Spotted Purples and Pipevines. It HAS been a stellar Spicebush summer ; )

    Always happy to see your posts Betty.

    Chris Howells

    1. Christine, thanks for the report from Virginia Beach. I didn’t realize you could order monarch ‘cats’ from Monarch Watch. Thanks for that info. No buckeyes here yet, though I most often see them a bit later as they migrate through. I’ve only seen a few red-spotted purples. However, I’ve raised at least 20 pipevines and currently have eggs. As to spicebush – others have had caterpillars but not a single one on my large spicebush or sassafras. 🙁 Here’s hoping some monarchs will come your way – maybe on their way south.

  4. Happy to say that we’ve seen a few in Cobourg, Ontario. Sad to say “just a few”, which certainly makes one appreciate their beauty and hope for more in the future. It is always so nice to hear from you Betty.

    1. Glad you are seeing at least a few monarchs in Ontario, Louise. Wasn’t it Sancho Panzo who said “something is better than nothing”? And I, too, am hoping for more in the future.

  5. Hi Betty. My five (at least) little Monarch caterpillars are dining on tropical milkweed as I write. Two of them ate purple milkweed for a day and then switched over to the tropical. I think it is just too good to change for them. I will be over to get some from your yard this weekend. Just don’t have enough in my hard for that many babies. Exciting to be their caretaker, along with three spicebush caterpillars and two spicebush chrysalis.

    1. Linda, interesting to know of their definite preference. Yes, will be glad to share. Glad to hear of your of your caterpillar zoo.

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