Our subject is intaking nectar from Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa). Mid-morning on July 27th, she is all business and so pre-occupied that we can approach within 12 inches.
Her deep orange is so rich that we are in a swoon. Fighting the milkweed family inner clock, she’s getting the last nectar before these flowers end their daily nectar production.
This 90 acre field in Raccoon Creek State Park is a treasure trove offering protected habitat that elsewhere is increasingly being lost.
So, if it’s July 27th, will she make the trip down south in early September, or will her progeny fly south?
Will they fly to Georgia, Alabama or Mississippi? Where will they begin their flight over the Gulf of Mexico?
I’m still awed by these questions . . . as I was as a grade schooler in Brooklyn, New York. How do they?
Danaus plexippus continues to ground us a bit, reminding us that we do not know everything!
Would butterfly heavyweights please weigh in here.