Saturday, June 23, 2012
Summer solstice monarch hatches!
Our monarch butterfly hatched just in time to see the sun rise on the first day of summer. We had noticed over the previous days that the chrysalis was changing from bright green to darker green and almost black, and then the monarch wing pattern started to be visible inside (the chrysalis was actually transparent when the butterfly emerged). On solstice we spent the early morning hours hardly leaving our back porch as we watched the monarch emerge from its chrysalis, unfurl and exercise its new wings, clamber from branch to branch on the milkweed and sticks we had provided nearby, then climb briefly onto our hands for a goodbye, try a small test flight upto our apple tree and then fly off with the breeze. This whole process took about 3 hours. Beautiful, awe-inspiring, and a wee bit sad to see our friend go. We learned that it takes monarchs four generations to make the entire flight to Mexico where many will overwinter. What an epic relay-race that butterfly journey is. So we needed to explain to our daughter that although this monarch will never return, we look forward to hosting it's great-great-great-great....grandchildren next summer.