Monarch butterfly emerges from chrysalis

Monarch butterflies have a way station in Orange County – 2018

Monarch Newborn

Plant it and they will come.

That’s certainly what happened this spring at our home in Orange County, California. We bought a milkweed plant, stuck it in the ground, watered it well and it bloomed. It became the host of many Monarch butterfly eggs and caterpillars. It was eaten voraciously and helped to produce several transformations from caterpillars into a chrysalis into Monarch butterflies.

In the photo above you can see the empty chrysalis next to the newly hatched butterfly. The hatchling is drying its wings so it can fly away. Until the wings are dry, it is most vulnerable to predators. It takes about one hour to complete this stage.

Monarch butterflies migrate from the cold climates of Canada and the northern USA beginning in September and arrive at their destination by Thanksgiving. The butterflies in the Eastern United States migrate to Mexico. Click here to see the overwintering sites in Mexico. Those west of the Rockies migrate to the California coast. Click here to find places to see Monarch Butterfly Groves in California.

 

Morning in San Joaquin Marsh

On a recent Saturday morning students from Santiago Canyon College/Community Services spent a couple of hours with me at the Irvine Ranch Water District’s San Joaquin Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary. We learned about the natural cleaning of the water as it travels to the ocean, identified several species of birds and water fowl, and simply enjoyed the sunshine and sounds of nature.

Click here for more information about IRWD and San Joaquin Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary.

Julie is leading a similar session at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve currently scheduled for Saturday, July 29, 2017. For more details visit Santiago Canyon College/Community Services.

Hope to see you in the wilds of Orange County, California!