Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Monarch Waystations

Last Thursday I went to the Fletcher Wildlife Garden for a guided tour. They are very interested in butterflies and have created a monarch waystation with milkweed for the caterpillars and wildflowers for the butterflies. I occasionally see Monarchs visiting the berm area, but they are very difficult to photograph in flight. The fellow in the picture to the right went past me 4 times before he stopped on the sumac long enough for me to snap this picture.

The 2009 naturalization area is very slowly becoming more attractive to Monarchs. Only a couple of patches of Milkweed, like the one above, are sprouting up in the 2009 square. Milkweed tends to come back year after year to the same location with multiple plants spreading out to form a clump. Since milkweed is quite common along the edges of the 1995 forest, I expect Milkweed has still not had enough time to get fully established in the 2009 naturalization area. Other staples of old fields and abandoned lots, such as Asters, Goldenrod, Mullein, Curly Dock, Canada Thistle and Queen Anne's Lace, are also slowly invading the 2009 naturalization area in what is now the 4th year without mowing. However, the variety of plants is still quite limited; some common species such as wild parsnip and raspberry are still absent. I looked over some of the milkweeds on the off chance that there was a caterpillar on one of them. Of course I didn't find any, but I did find another interesting bug. On the leaf of the milkweed above is a Roesel's Katydid, another introduced species from Europe that is spreading across eastern Canada and the Northeastern States.

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