|"Just living is not enough, said the butterfly. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower."Hans Christian Anderson|
I was so excited to finally have a Monarch let me take its photo this morning. I had been trying since they began showing up a little more than a week ago. When I first spotted a few feeding on the Butterfly Weed in the herb garden they seemed nervous and jittery and it was difficult to get a picture. It was a grave concern about their travels through our drought stricken state this year. I can say that from our homestead there is nothing for miles for the Monarch to feed on. Everything is dried up and dead.
Every year the Monarchs travel through Texas on their way to the Mountains of Mexico. I read a report today that they've been flying in by the droves and the Mexican people actually have signs out for travelers to take caution when driving so not to hurt them. "Mariposas Monarcas" in Spanish. I think that is something that many folks here in the U.S. don't think about when driving. So it is good news for the Monarch it seems, however I'm sure we will get a more detailed account this next year of any decline in numbers.
There is a bit of trivia going on at one of the sites I visit online to keep track of the Monarchs journey. The question was "What were the Monarchs eating" on their way through Texas? They were found roosting by the droves in Pecan Trees. A Monarch has no biting or chewing parts to eat. They have a proboscis, which to me looks like an elephants trunk when viewed up close. They use this to sip nectar and Pecan Trees are not in flower this time of year. Luckily they gave a few clues and it wasn't hard to figure out after reading them. Take a peek at the photo and clues to see if you can figure it out. I will say this much....Aphids were involved. Here's the link: http://www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch/fall2011/c100611_1.html
Nature is remarkable in its survival skills. But with overwhelming declines and extinctions we must play a more important role in caring for our ecosystems and environments. As such beauties as the Monarch Butterfly, consider adding a few of its favorite things to your yard and garden. One little Milkweed or Butterfly weed can make all the difference.