I think about butterflies, alot. These more than 25 years of butterfly seeking have produced many epiphanies for me. This riveting image of a Viceroy Butterfly on a hostplant in Traci’s Kelso Swamp evokes one of those durable thoughts.
Just as I’ve been a fan of Elvis, Paul Robeson, Johnny Cash, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Bing Crosby and Kelli Pickler, there are butterflies I cannot see enough of. That especially when the one I’ve ‘found’ is fresh and richly colored/patterned.
Viceroys are in that select group. When I’m in a wetland, I find that I am particularly alert to the likelihood that a Viceroy will fly in. See a Viceroy, and I stop whatever I was doing and follow it, for I want, I really want it to be fresh, richly hued, and with a thick, dramatic black line across the back expanse of the hindwings. It I see such, I will stalk it for as long as necessary. Usually it decides to avoid this new nuisance, and as they are skilled at doing, execute some elusive maneuvers, and are . . . gone.
This one was a Looker! and all of the above applied. You see what I see, a fine specimen of a Viceroy with so much to admire, perched and resting in Kelso Swamp, smack next door to Traci’s lot!
They will be here in my Georgia yard, soon, very soon. Back where I used to live, Pittsburgh, you’d see perhaps one Monarch or two in your home garden from May to July. That was exasperating Monarchmama, because those 7 foot tall and 8 foot tall Common milkweed plants were strong, bearing huge flowerheads, all for one or two Monarchs! Twenty or more milkweeds, despondent, waiting for Monarchs, but none come.
Here in Georgia, Virginia’s Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch (as in Br’er Rabbit) Habitat usually has 3 to 4 Monarchs present on any day from April to October. Last November, there was that day when 5 Monarchs arrived in my own garden, together, and they nectared on the Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia) for several hours, before they left, headed to Mexico.
They are show headliners, like Johnny Cash, Elvis, the Beatles, Diana Ross, Bing Crosby (my music stopped with the ’60’s). When they fly in, those poor Cloudless Sulphurs, Painted Ladies and Black Swallowtails are abandoned, for Look! a Monarch just flew in!! This male is happily on Tithonia, in that very same Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia.
So, I ask you, Why did G-d make the Monarch butterfly?