Winter Antidotes II

Monarch Butterfly    photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park. Jeff blogs about the art and science of butterflies at
Christmas, Chanukah and now New Years has sailed by us, it seems. Home here in Pittsburgh we are enjoying a 60F day . . . but we have to brace ourselves, for 2 days from now, forecasts are for a high of 19F. Have no fear though, we are here  with another therapeutic image.

This fine example of a Monarch butterfly (Danaus Plexippus) is enough to stir the hearts of millions of Americans and Canadians. Monarchs by the tens of millions are now in central Mexico, mostly dormant in those gigantic fir trees that house them for the next several months.

Did we have a scare last year? You bet we did. Numbers during June and July were scary. August provided some relief, and that one day I counted 11 Monarchs in Doak field in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. Eleven in a single morning was good. Good.

The spotlight in now on the resurgence of Monarchs to historically strong numbers. They are loved by 30,000,000 or more North Americans, and efforts are being made to remedy any and every obstacle to their success here.

The days tick by, sunset is a bit later each week, and soon, real soon, we can open our eyes and again stare at a shmeksy monarch like this one, she nectaring seriously on Joe Pye Weed wildflowers. We can once again stand there, trying to fathom  how this delicate gem of an animal will navigate the warm air currents from Pennsylvania, or Georgia or Toronto, all the way south to Louisiana, and inevitably south again to the center of Mexico.

Hang in there friends, they’ll be here sooner than you think.


4 thoughts on “Winter Antidotes II

  1. Beautiful shot, Jeff. We had more Monarchs this fall, especially in October, than I have previously seen in my back yard. In fact they stayed so late that I was not sure the could get to Mexico before it got too cold. Anyhow, it is indeed good news that so many got back in such large numbers. Jim Hughes


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