Monarch’s Visit is a Gardening First

This migrating monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) stopped just long enough to make my heart soar.

monarch-blogMany butterflies have enjoyed the nectar from my butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii), but this was the first time I’ve seen a monarch drop by for a snack. Even though this is one of the best-known and most recognized butterflies in North America, I’d never seen one in my backyard.

Sure, I might have caught a glimpse of one as it sailed through the yard. But I was never sure that’s what I saw. It could always be another member of the family with the distinctive deep orange, black and white coloring.

Reading up on these beautiful insects, I learned that when migrating, they can be anywhere from the Midwest to the coast of California. They like open fields, roadsides, canyons and even suburban areas like my backyard.

They migrate from September through October in huge numbers on their way to the mountains in Mexico where they prefer to spend their winters.

I spotted this bit of orange from my office window, quickly grabbed my camera and started shooting like crazy. I didn’t know if I’d gotten a good image until much later.

I also submitted my sighting to Journey North, the website that tracks the monarch migration each fall and spring.

It was a rare and wonderful moment in my backyard habitat and I’m pleased to share it with you. If you’ve spotted a monarch in your landscape, would you please comment about it here?


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I would love to see Monarchs in my backyard. They have been my favorite butterfly since I was a girl. You are blessed by the butterfly spirits!

I’m lucky enough to live on the CA central coast where we have a grove of trees where the monarchs winter. Absolutely amazing to see them all hanging from the trees. And, of course, I grow milkweed for them. I love having the caterpillers make their cocoons in my yard.

Oh, you are indeed lucky! I can’t imagine how wonderful it must be to see that many monarchs in one place. Do you report your sightings to the Flying North website for its research efforts?

Thanks, Michelle. I wish I could send a few monarchs your way!

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