Saturday, October 6, 2007

Monarch magic~


If it weren't for the unseasonable warmth, I wouldn't have eaten my lunch on the patio. I wouldn't have spotted a monarch at the marigolds. I wouldn't have put down my sandwich and gone for my camera.

The monarch flew, but as I sat again, I saw that there were several fluttering around the yard: one at the butterfly bush, one on the nasturtiums, and others fluttering with no special destination that I could tell-- just following the whim of the wind.

Toward evening I walked on the college campus, camera in tow, waiting for the sun to point out pictures for me.

I don't ever remember ever seeing monarchs in October, but they were everywhere. They crossed my path, zigzagged high, fluttered low. They were harder to photograph than falling leaves. They flew high beside two swallows and a dragonfly. I didn't have the patience to sit and try for a shot so I walked on just happy to have seen them.

I rounded a corner and stopped short. There were monarchs at a nectar bar-- a gift from nature to them, and me-- and while they drank their fill of sweet aster juice, I snapped my fill of photos.

These monarchs must be making their fall migration to New Mexico. Thanks to summer weather, they found a nectar source and thanks to the warmth I was there to see it.

This beauty was right under the noses of the students who'd stayed on campus for the long weekend, but they were oblivious to it. Snatches of conversation told me they had other things on their minds. I think maybe most people do.
See more monarchs by clicking "My Flickr" icon in the left margin.
This is a great site on monarch migration: Journey North

“Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower” Albert Camus

17 comments:

Janice Thomson said...

Wow what a thrill that must have been Ruth! Only once have I ever seen a large group of Monarchs and that was years ago...I'll be checking out your photo stream for sure.
We never seem to appreciate these kind of things until we are older - perhaps because it has more meaning then.

Bob Sanchez said...

Gasp. Delightful photos.

Heather said...

great pics!

sorry I've been MIA... school is keeping me pretty crazy-busy... but mostly in a good way. we're on "reading week" now, so I'm catching up a bit... we'll see... hope all is well!

Ruth D~ said...

Oooops! I "rejected Voyagers comment by mistake. Quick trigger finger. Here you go V~

Voyager has left a new comment on your post "Monarch magic~":

They are so magnificent. Thank you for the lovely images on a dreary wet day here. I could use a butterfly sighting today.
~~~~~

You might have to wait until spring for the butterflies to return, but they will. Meanwhile what else is happening in the northwest besides wet and dreary?

R~
~~~~~

rain said...

Such luck! And you captured them amazingly. Beautiful shots. I've never seen a Monarch...sigh.

Ruth D~ said...

Rain~ Like anything we photograph, the pictures don't quite do them justice. There is always that, "You had to be there " factor.

Josie said...

Ruth, those photographs are breathtakingly beautiful. I would like to do a painting of one of them.

Do you think climate change is causing the Monarchs to be so late in their migration?

I deleted my blog, but I have another one, and you can link to me again through this comment.

I hope you're enjoying your unseasonably warm weather :-)

Cheers,
Josie

Ruth D~ said...

I noticed your blog had disappeared, Josie. I'll be glad to reconnect.

As for warmth and the monarchs, I wondered the same thing, but I did some research and it seems that they are on schedule, not unduly late. They navigate using ultraviolet light somehow. Maybe they were just lower because the warmth kept the flowers blooming and thats their source of energy. Who knows, but interesting.

Do you paint?

sc morgan said...

Oh, Ruth. Gorgeous, gorgeous photos. The text is pretty fine, too!

Lisa said...

Oh my gosh ~~ how wonderful, Ruth! I love monarchs too, and seeing one on Friday just took me by surprise! These pictures are just gorgeous. I'll take a look at them on flickr too. :-)
Have a wonderful week!

Josie said...

Ruth, yes, I do watercolors and also colored pencils. All three of these photos would be wonderful paintings.

You have a great eye for photography.

Barbara said...

I have always loved monarch butterflies. I find their whole life cycle so fascinating.

Voyager said...

Ruth, Thanks for "unrejecting" me! I miss Monarchs. We don't seem to get them around here much. Not like when I was a child in central Canada, they were everywhere, and I loved watching them.
V.

Rhea said...

I saw one a few days ago in Jamaica Plain.

Ruth D~ said...

I guess what amazes me is that we humans are so complex, and yet a fragile insect can navigate hundreds of miles, correctly. I can't even go fifty without my gps. What does this say?

V~ I'd never reject you intentionally. I also rejected Bob, but asked him to repost. I was going to ask you, but saw from you blog that you were in the midst of something, so . . . I did it myself.

mon@rch said...

Probably not a surprise but I just love these guys! Great post and love the photos!

daisies said...

monarchs are so beautiful and how wonderful to find them and capture them so beautifully :)