Monday, November 14, 2016

The Flight of the Monarchs

Photo by
Excellent information on Monarchs on their site:

It was brought to my attention that I 

mistakenly identified the butterflies in this post.  

The butterflies I've photographed here are Queens, not Monarchs.  

In my rush and excitement I didn't properly examine the photos. 

You can see in the photo below, with the butterfly wings open, 

that the black veining of a Monarch is not present. 

When the wings are closed, both the Queen 

and the Monarch share this black veining characteristic.

Queens, closely related to Monarchs, 

are often mistaken for Monarchs.

I apologize, I should have noticed because I wrote a 

previous post on Queen butterflies here.  

That said, the information about Monarchs is correct. 

It's late in the migration season,

but Monarchs are here in Austin to refuel as they

 make the long journey to their winter home in Mexico.

Thursday, after my monthly CAMEO meeting,

I noticed my friend's garden was all a flutter.

Dozens of Monarch butterflies

were fluttering from plant to plant to feast

on the nectar of tropical milkweed and other plants.

These beautiful creatures are 

nothing short of little miracles and are the 

only butterfly known to make a two way journey of migration.  

The Monarch's 3,000 mile migration from Canada to 

Mexico and back again has long puzzled scientists.

Dwindling populations in recent years have caused alarm.

The governments of the US, Canada, and Mexico have  

joined in an effort to help save the Monarch butterfly.

Milkweed is the most important factor

in saving the Monarchs, as it is the only food

the Monarch caterpillar can eat, and 

it is the chemicals in milkweed that protect the Monarch.

Austin, recognized as the most wildlife-friendly

city in America, has resolved to incorporate

more native milkweed into the city's landscape.

 Former First Lady Laura Bush 

founded Texan By Nature in 2011.

A community run conservation effort to preserve Texas'

environment,  Texan By Nature has begun a state wide  

initiative to help preserve the Monarch.

Click here to become a Monarch Wrangler and learn

how you can make a difference for the Monarch butterfly. 


The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. The Monarch has fantastic stained glass windows for wings, just stunning!
    Lovely to have your company on Mosaic Monday this week.

  2. I've heard about this problem with the Monarch butterflies. I was excited to see some monarchs this year because some years I don't see them. I can't imagine seeing that many monarchs at once! I have a "butterfly weed" plant in my garden which I guess is a type of milkweed.

  3. Monarchs are stunning! We have a butterfly garden at school.

  4. The Monarch is indeed "little miracles" with their fragile wings. We get them through our gardens too. How they travel such long distances amazes everyone. My sister traveled to Mexico just to see the Monarch. She was so amazed and overwhelmed at the hills covered with the fluttering miracles. She was writing an article for a science text book. She says one of the most amazing sites to see. Great post Sarah!

  5. What beautiful photos! One year we visited the countryside of Mexico in December and came across an area just absolutely thick with monarch butterflies. Now we know where they vacation. ;-)

  6. What beautiful photos! One year we visited the countryside of Mexico in December and came across an area just absolutely thick with monarch butterflies. Now we know where they vacation. ;-)

  7. Sarah, How delightful it must have been to see all the monarchs together! My town has planted some milkweed and we have seen more monarchs coming through this year than in many recent years. It is important to have the right milkweed plant as not all are suitable. If you have the chance to see Flight of the Monarch which shows at many iMax theaters you should definitely go as it explains the process and follows the flight from Canada to Texas, to Mexico and back again. This butterfly is truly fascinating and Texas should be so proud of the efforts to help! As a matter of fact your links to the Texas By Nature group and becoming a Monarch Wrangler are so inspiring. Linda

  8. I absolutely love butterflies and enjoyed your pictures and the info you provided so much. I will be planting milkweed in our garden next year.

  9. Beautiful Sarah, just beautiful! Sharing this on my FB page today. They're so pretty!

  10. Oh this post makes my heart SO happy Sarah! I was not aware that Austin was recognized as the most wildlife-friendly city in America~ wonderful!

  11. Sarah, I linked your blog to my Garden Club secret Facebook page. This is a wonderful post. I am very interested in monarchs since seeing them at the Dallas Arboretum last fall. They are truly beautiful. I planted milkweed for the first time last spring and have had lots of butterflies in my garden but no monarchs. Hoping to learn more and your post was helpful.

  12. So many beautiful shots of the Monarchs and great information, too. Hats off to Austin and the former First Lady! I wonder if milkweed can grow here. I'll have to google that. Have a good week.

  13. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous! So glad the monarchs are welcome in Austin. I haven't see one Monarch in Houston.... sad.... Happy Monday!

  14. Monarchs are so beautifully painted. What amazing creatures they are to migrate so far, and then back again!

  15. Aren't you so lucky to get to enjoy one of the loveliest of creations…monarchs are so pretty. They remind me of my time growing up in Texas.

  16. Someday I hope to see that many monarchs--and more--in one place!

  17. I keep the milkweed in my garden always, as the Monarch's stay all year. I love watching them.

    Great article Sarah, thanks so much. Have a wonderful week.


  18. Oh wow Sarah, you had a lot of them! I only had one in my back yard! My neighbor is all into growing the milkweed and helping to increase the Monarch's population. thanks for sharing such lovely photos with us!

  19. Oh, I would love to see so many Monarchs all in one place.

  20. Thank you Sarah for sharing the monarchs with us. I am on the east coast of Canada and I haven't seen many here the last few years. I hope they will strengthen in numbers again.

  21. Beautiful butterflies! I love them. I didn't see as many this summer as normal.
    Joy @ Books and Life

  22. Oh this is such a wonderful post! You know I love the Monarchs too. It makes me so happy to see so many of them and to know that they have milkweed when they get there. We are planting it here in Rockwall too. All it takes is a little encouragement and knowledge to get others involved.

    Did I tell you that when I was at my dad's in Lockhart 3 weeks ago we went to San Marcos one day...the sky was like a cloud of butterflies of all kinds. It was miraculous!

  23. What a beautiful sight, Sarah! I have attracted the caterpillars with dill plants, and the abundance of milkweed at the lake has me bringing home seeds for plants here in the city as well. I hope awareness, such as your post provides, keeps our beautiful Monarchs around for a long, long time!


  24. Bonjour chère amie,

    Quel magnifique spectacle ! Tous ces papillons donnent envie de prendre des ailes !...
    Merci pour l'ensemble de vos superbes photos.

    Gros bisous ♡

  25. Beautiful photos. Pacific Grove California is my hometown and is where the monarchs gather every march and fill the trees with living leaves! Nature truly is amazing. Thanks for sharin.

  26. Those monarchs are just beautiful! I can imagine how the monarchs are flitting in the flowers!
    Happy day to you!

  27. Be still my butterfly loving heart...I can only imagine the thrill of seeing all those monarchs Sarah! I was so excited to see several had found my milkweed this summer and late fall. Thanks for sharing the beauty. ♥

  28. Thank you for the information on the Monarch, Sarah. I saw quite a few in my own garden this Fall and it was always a thrill. They really seemed to love the Blue Mist plant that I have in my side yard. I didn't know about the Milkweed and how the chemicals in it protect the Monarchs. What a great post, Sarah!

  29. I love monarchs! I enjoy watching them - one year my kids and I raised a couple. It was so much fun to watch them go through their cycle of caterpillar to butterfly. We successfully released each one. One of my goals at the farm is to have lots of butterfly food aka a butterfly area! I'm going to go check out how to become a wrangler! Thanks for sharing.

  30. What a wonderful and amazing event to have captured that day, Sarah! I'd love to have been there. Truly a little natural miracle.

  31. To think such a fragile creature can fly such a distance is just amazing. They are so beautiful, as are all butterflies, and having some in one's garden makes such a difference. I pray these will never become extinct.

  32. Hello Sarah. Such a lovely post about the Monarch butterflies. They are truly amazing and it is so interesting how far they can fly. What an amazing tranformation they go through. Thanks Sarah for sharing your posts at DI&DI.

  33. Wow, I bet that the monarch migration is quite the sight to see! Your photos are beautiful, Sarah. Thanks for sharing them with us!

  34. Hi Sarah, Maybe some of those monarchs are the ones I hosted here this summer with my new butterfly bush. I don't think I ever saw it that it feeding three or four butterflies. Austin has something to be proud of when it comes to being nature-friendly. Every town in America should be involved in this. I think Ladybird Johnson did a lot for nature in Texas, too. Very worthwhile.

  35. Oh Sarah, I can only imagine the delight when you experienced when photographing the monarchs. Timing is everything. Each August, we go on a field trip with the forest ranger near our camp, and get to see their transformation. Maybe some of our monarchs visited you in Austin. ♥

  36. We did not see many this year. I don't know if it is the drought or we don't have any milkweed. Your photos are beautiful.

  37. Sarah... your pics are gorgeous! We used to have a butterfly garden in our yard in McKinney and I loved it. I still laugh at the fact that we thought Phyllis' snapdragon was real!!! Have a great week.

  38. Hi Sarah. Your pictures are so beautiful. When we lived in Santa Cruz and the kids were small, we used to take them to Natural Bridges when the monarchs would be clinging to the eucalyptus trees by the thousands. What a sight that was. I usually see a few in our garden at times but this year there weren't many..Happy Wednesday..Judy

  39. Soooo pretty!! I'm amazed that you could capture so many photos without them flying off before the shutter snapped.
    Our town has been promoting the planting of milkweed to try to help them too. I must remember to do that next spring.

  40. Wonderful post, Sarah! I will never forget the sight of seeing thousands and thousands of monarch butterflies clinging to trees in an area near Pacific Grove, California, when my husband and I took a road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway form San Diego to San Francisco. The tree grove is a known monarch resting spot on their migration south. I never had a chance to blog about that spot--I'll have to look up my photos and blog about it someday in the future.

  41. Very beautiful and I am always deeply touched by the Monarchs and their tough life and journey. I saw very few this season and we have had really weird weather, going to be 80' tomorrow in KY and I still see very small ones, knowing they will never make it to their destiny...very difficult to observe...then Saturday high will only be 43'...hard but at least thousands to make the long journey~

  42. Sarah,
    What a wonderful experience to see so many butterflies in one place at the same time, regardless of what kind. My little two-acre plot in the countryside has a lot of area left natural, and a few milkweed plants grow there. We enjoy all kinds of butterflies. Your photos are excellent.


  43. Sarah, I can see how it would be very easy to mix them up. I would not have realized it. Their migration definitely is amazing! We have been encouraged here in UT to plant milkweed to help save the Monarchs. Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos with SYC.

  44. What a stunning sight they must be! I wouldn't know one from the other, but they are all stunners! Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  45. Dearest Sarah,
    Oh my, I've posted on your old post... but you find the message anyway.

  46. Beautiful colours and beautiful photos! Not to worry if you got the two species a little mixed up ;-)

  47. This is an amazing post, Sarah. I can't believe the way you got all these butterflies to sit and pose for you. Amazing.


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