Two beautiful, sun-filled hours working the Nichol Road trail and Doak field. Raccoon Creek State Park has time and again been my preferred destination. No other Pennsylvania state park within a 90 minute drive enjoys such rich and diverse butterfly populations. Doak field had to have 10,000 Goldenrods (Solidago spp.) in flower today. Typical for the first week in September.
As I worked the Doak field trails, my focus was on finding butterflies nectaring on the goldenrod. Nothing. Nada. Not a single butterfly was on a Solidago flowerhead. How can that be? I’ve seen butterflies feeding on goldenrod. Today, No.
So as I approached the later morning, and quitting time came closer and closer, I no decided to no longer continue my goldenrod hunt.
Moving along the southeast edge of the field, I was very surprised to have flushed up a Monarch butterfly, that had been . . . nectaring on goldenrod. Just like the Monarch in this image was doing. Ok, so I did see a Monarch on goldenrod, this 2014 year with its near total absence of Monarchs.
Be cool Jeff, continue on your way, that sighting, a 1 in a million, literally.
I moved 10 feet forward . . . another Monarch sped up and away, it also was on goldenrod. Truth be told, I could not believe it. All morning I wanted 2 things, to see/photograph a Mourning cloak butterfly and 2) to capture a photo of a fresh Monarch on goldenrod. Skunked, I stopped looking. Then . . . .
Which of those two Monarchs will reach Louisiana by October 1st? I’ve driven from Pittsburgh to Mississippi twice. Imagine flying there on gossamer wings . . . no A/C, no music, no GPS, no cushiony seats . . . .