#monarchbutterflies

Flitter-Flutterers

I don't usually think of October as a time for butterflies, but this October has been quite wonderful to see all sorts of them. I offer here two flutterbys: a monarch and a buckeye, with videos and photos.

Shakespeare Garden in Central Park is a wonderful place to look for butterflies. There is often great sunlight, and lots of milkweed to attract the monarchs. I saw a perfect monarch butterfly on Oct. 12 — no rips in the wings, or any other damage to this gorgeous flitterer.

Monarch butterfly  (Danaus plexippus), Shakespeare Garden, Oct. 12, 2016

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), Shakespeare Garden, Oct. 12, 2016

The video is set to the second half of Dance of the Hours by Ponchielli (the first half was used in the buckeye butterfly video). If you haven't seen the prequel to this monarch video, check out Monarch Wannabes.

 

On October 7, I got to photograph a buckeye butterfly (Junonia coenia Hübner) at Conservatory Garden in Central  Park.

Common buckeye, Conservatory Garden, Oct. 7, 2016

Common buckeye, Conservatory Garden, Oct. 7, 2016

I am in the process of a much longer video, to be included in my Contemplate This series of videos. My effort in this series is to create videos that you can put on your computer when you want to relax, and just watch relaxing, soothing images set to nice music. A couple are in the works, and my butterfly video will feature quite a variety of butterflies over four years.

Monarch Metamorphosis, Caterpillar Stage

On August 31, monarch caterpillars were chomping down on the milkweed in the garden east of the model boat pond (Conservatory Pond). These are monarch larvae, in the 5th instar stage, just before they go into the pupa stage and become chrysalises. What these striped critters aspire to is the magnificent monarch butterfly we are blessed with at this time of year.

Monarch butterfly, BEFORE

Monarch butterfly, BEFORE

Monarch butterfly, AFTER

Monarch butterfly, AFTER

I did a Silly Video to celebrate all that munching, called Monarch Wannabes. I set it to music by Charles Gounod, including the "Funeral March of the Marionette," which is also known as Alfred Hitchcock's theme music. To be a living being that goes through all these stages, to live such a short time, seems amazing — almost Hitchcockian!

Some more photos of the creepy crawlers. So much fun to watch, but they chomp for 3 to 5 days, so are probably building their new homes and hanging out now (apparently, they should be called pupa or chrysalises, not cocoons, because the monarchs don't create silken coverings).

There are a number of sites discussing the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. I like the National Wildlife Federation site, but I had fun looking at other sites.