First Post of the spring, Butterflies are back

Posted on May 4th, 2012 by

Hey all:

First…. an apology.  I’ve been the new Naturalist here at the Arboretum for over 4 months, but this is the first time I’ve made time to post.  Rest assured that posts will be coming MUCH more regularly in the future.

That aside, the butterflies are back!  As of May 2, I have seen the first monarch, first black swallowtail, and first yellow swallowtail.  And, of course, the red admirals and painted ladies have been around for the past couple of weeks already.  The red admirals have been thicker in southern Minnesota this spring than I have EVER seen them.  Driving down the road, there are patches of highway where the side of the road is littered with red admiral wings.  My favorite thing about red admirals is how “friendly” they are.  It’s not uncommon to be putting those first plants into the garden and have a red admiral repeatedly land on your shoulder.

Speaking of butterflies, had a wonderful and unique experience here at the Arboretum just today.  Giving a nature hike to some Little Saints preschoolers, we found a monarch flitting near the ground by the pond.  As we moved closer, I could tell it was female (darker lines, no spots on hind wings).  I quickly realized it was landing on the very young, 3-inch high, milkweeds growing near the pond, actively laying eggs.  Our group of preschoolers stood there watching as she went from plant to plant, depositing eggs all over the place.  We could even watch her stretch her abdomen forward and actually watch the new egg being deposited.  I’ve never had such a front-row seat to a monarch laying eggs, and certainly never with a group of students in tow.    Later.      Scott



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