Hungry Monarch Caterpillars

Our Lens-Artists challenge from guest host Priscilla at Scillagrace is to “present a “Getting To Know You” post showing your relationship with a subject you’ve photographed. The subject could be a Person, a Place, a Culture, an Object…anything that has captured your attention, won your affection and taught you a thing or two.”

I’ve always enjoyed watching butterflies as they fly from one flower to another so I planted a butterfly garden several years ago. The more I watched them the more I wanted to learn about them. Monarchs frequently fly through the area to feed and lay their eggs on milkweed plants.

Monarch butterflies will feed on many different nectar plants. I have found Mexican Sunflowers to be a favorite for them and many other varieties of butterflies. By summer the garden will be covered with zinnias, Mexican Sunflowers, coneflowers, and other nectar plants.

Right now my garden is in it’s early stages with very few blooms. I’m afraid the few Monarch butterflies that have come by my garden have been disappointed in the slim pickings. The only nectar plant blooming right now is a single Mexican sunflower with multiple blooms. I’ve been watching the butterflies drink their fill.

Monarch butterfly on Mexican Sunflower

Every year I enjoy getting to know the caterpillars before they move on to become butterflies. I’ve learned their job is to eat so they have the strength to transform into a chrysalis.

The only plant that Monarch caterpillars feed on is milkweed (Asclepias). This year the female Monarchs laid their eggs on just about every available milkweed leaf they could find. The eggs hatched into tiny caterpillars and for the second year in a row they have devoured every leaf on every milkweed plant.

I observed the first group of caterpillars for several days and observed how quickly they grew before crawling off to make their chrysalis.

The caterpillars like to spin their chrysalis in a safe place and I very rarely can find them. Hopefully all the these caterpillars will emerge as beautiful Monarchs.

Many thanks to Priscilla at Scillagrace.com for this Photo Challenge. Please be sure to visit her original post at Lens-Artists Challenge #145: Getting to Know You

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #143 – Colorful April

Spring is emerging with colorful flowers all around my yard in coastal Georgia.

I was late planting seeds this year so only a few flowers are blooming in the butterfly garden. I have spotted a few Monarch butterflies but have not been able to capture a photo yet. The Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds have come back to the feeders but I haven’t been able to capture them, either.

Right now purple and orange are the only two colors in the butterfly garden. The milkweed in the garden will soon be blooming. I’m looking forward to adding a few new plants and watching the plants emerge from the seeds.

Most of the azaleas have dropped their petals but a few late bloomers are still showing off their brilliant pink color. Tiny white blossoms stand out on a huge rosemary bush.

We are adding some green to a flower bed in our front yard by adding three citrus trees. Our granddaughter and I had fun getting muddy when we planted a naval orange tree on Easter. The tree is small now but hopefully will grow quickly and produce fruit in a few years.

Many thanks to Amy for this weeks Lens-Artists Challenge #143: Colorful April

Thanks also to Marsha for her challenge Sunday Stills: Emerging

Lens-Artists #113: Labor of Love

This week’s photo challenge comes from guest host Rusha Sams of Oh, The Places we See… We are asked to show images that represent a Labor of Love.

Planting my butterfly garden and maintaining it is a labor of love for me. By planting seeds and plants that attract pollinators such as butterflies and bees I am providing a place for them to feast on the nectar. At the same time I have a space in my backyard to relax and enjoy nature.

Here’s a few of the late summer critters that visited the garden recently. You can click on a picture to enlarge it.

Monarchs, Gulf Fritillaries, and Skipper butterflies have been all over the zinnias and Mexican Sunflower drinking up the nectar. Wasps, bees, and even a tiny grasshopper enjoyed the flowers, too.

It’s been a long, hot, dry summer and hopefully the flowers will continue to attract the butterflies and other critters for a little while longer.

I smile whenever I see these beautiful visitors to the garden. What made you smile this week?

Thanks to guest host Rusha Sams for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #113 – A Labor of Love.

Also shared with Trent’s Weekly Smile.

October in Coastal Georgia

October is one of my favorite months in coastal Georgia. The weather is finally cooling off, the sunrises and sunsets are gorgeous, and you never know what birds will show up to feed in the marsh.

I’ve been seeing gorgeous morning skies at sunrise.

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Coastal Georgia Sunrise

The cooler temperatures are perfect for taking a morning walk.

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Coastal Georgia Salt Marsh

I need to clean out the dying plants from my butterfly garden but I decided to wait before pulling them up. As long as there are butterflies stopping by for some nourishment the plants will stay.

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Gulf Fritillary on Mexican Sunflower

Large flocks of White Ibis have been feeding in the salt marsh around our neighborhood.

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Juvenile White Ibis

 

 

Lens-Artists #66: Filling the Frame

This week, Patti has challenged us to bring attention to the subject in our photo by filling the frame with that subject. I chose a selection of photos from this year’s butterfly garden.

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Bee in the Butterfly Garden

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Gulf Fritillary on Zinnia

Although several varieties of butterflies visited the garden this summer, the Monarchs have been few and far between until today. Early this morning, there were about eight different Monarchs feasting on the flowers.

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Monarch Butterfly

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Monarch on milkweed in early October

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Monarch on Mexican Sunflower in early October

Many thanks to Patti for this weeks Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Filling the Frame