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And the cycle is complete

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We are so lucky-yesterday morning we watched the monarch butterfly emerge from its chrysalis. The previous night I observed that you could see black and orange clearly through the transparent chrysalis, so assumed it would hatch the following day.
The Monarch Emerges!
In the  morning we ran outside and, unbelievable timing, saw it crawling out of the chrysalis.
The Monarch Emerges!

The Monarch Emerges!
It was amazing! It crawled out and its wings were very small.
20140906_073332

The Monarch Emerges!

The Monarch Emerges!
We watched as the wings unfolded and lengthened
The Monarch Emerges!
And then it began to crawl up the branch.
The Monarch Emerges!
It hung there and gently occasionally moved its wings in tiny flutters to begin drying them.
The Monarch Emerges!

The Monarch Emerges!
We had to get out the door to go to the first soccer games of the season so we did not get to see it eventually open the wings all the way.  When we got home from soccer we ran over to the garden to see if it was still there. It was no longer on the milkweed, but as we stood there making noise, it rose up from the catmint behind us and we watched it flutter and fly across the yard and away. It was wonderful to see that it successfully completed its transformation. Godspeed, Monarch!

What an amazing experience this was to witness.  There was something about seeing it occur naturally and outdoors that made it extra wonderful.  I can only hope that the many other caterpillars we saw (and no longer do) crawled off to better shelter than the emaciated milkweed to form their chrysalises.  If possible next year we will definitely plant another of this same milkweed variety, and should we be so lucky as to again see 30 caterpillars there we will move some to indoors to watch.

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About Sarah

I'm a librarian living with my lovely family in a gorgeous spot of New Jersey, where we raise chickens and love the outdoors. I try to find enough time to indulge all my hobbies-cooking, photography, gardening, sewing, and I write about it all on my book blog & personal blog.

One response »

  1. This is so neat!

    Reply

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