Monday, November 12, 2012

Magnificent Monarch Rescue

On a recent trip to Singh Farm my friends and I had the good fortune to come across a newly emerged Monarch butterfly, hanging under a pot drying his wings.  My ever-inquisitive friend, Aurora, got up close and was distressed to discover that the butterfly was getting tangled in a spider's web.  (Gail Morris of the Southwest Monarch Study later told us it is a common ploy - as the unsuspecting newby butterfly hangs to dry his wings, the spider starts building a web around him.)

Newly emerged Monarch butterfly beginning to become
entangled by a spider's web.

 Aurora quickly put out a large stem for the butterfly to latch on to, and wallah - he was freed from the spiders trap!  We shared a few peaceful and precious moments as the Monarch stretched out and dried his wings in the warm sunlight.

Other Monarchs were happily flitting around the huge stand of tropical milkweed at Singh Farm. 

Before we knew it, our Monarch was dry and ready for his first flight.  Without any fanfare or pre-flight check list, off he flew into the sunlight.  Aurora watched him, a bit misty-eyed, and said with complete earnest "they grow up so fast".

Monarch chrysalis on a palo verde tree at Singh Farm.

One of the Monarchs tagged by the Southwest Monarch Study feeding on the
tropical milkweed at Singh Farm, October 2012.

Monarch migration in Arizona is winding down, but you can still see oodles of them at Desert Botanical Garden's Butterfly Pavilion now through Nov. 25th.  There is one more opportunity to tag and release butterflies at DBG with members of the Southwest Monarch Study on Thursday, Nov. 15th at 1:30 pm. Reservations can be made by calling 480.481.8188. There is no additional charge for tagging for the general public with paid Garden admission. The tagging is limited to 50 participants.

If you come across and photograph Monarch butterflies while out birding, help Gail in tracking them simply by posting your photos and locations on the Southwest Monarch Study Facebook Page

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