I spend several mornings, attempting to score September shots of Monarchs deep within the milkweed beds at the Butterflies & Blooms in the Habitat, in sweet Eatonton, Georgia. As I stood at the edges of those several Asclepias patches, females Monarchs would fly in their meandering way, and then head straight to the milkweeds.
Why? They were laying eggs, one at a time, ovipositing it is called. Wow! Few were the times that they landed at the tops of the milkweeds. Almost all of the successful ovipositing tries were at the inner milkweeds, those within the inner reaches of these plant groups.
What to do? Who would want to have a look at my images, if the entire butterfly could not be seen? Duh!
We have spent the last years fretting. We, hundreds of thousand of us east of the Mississippi River have worried, will this decline in Monarch numbers continue, to the . . . Heaven Forbid! disappearance of eastern Monarch?
I mulled this over, and decided: Take these exposures. This, this is what we have been hoping and praying for, the continued resilience of Monarch populations, in Eatonton, Lilburn, Frewsburg, Oxford, Griffin, Watkinsville, Gibbstown, and Shellman Bluff, to name a few. These females set their eggs, and those that are successful, will fly to the center of Mexico, and overwinter there, in fir trees.
Our Monarch reward, in part for all of the effort, sweat and tears of Monarchmama, Virginia and Lisa and the rest of our Monarch stewards.
A Monarch female, earnest to set her eggs, the product of a strong bull male, and a determined, beautiful female.