Oh what a wondrous sight!
Yesterday the first monarch, a female, emerged from her chrysalis.
The day before I noticed that the chrysalis was suddenly very dark, but I thought it would take at least another full day for the monarch to emerge.
Around 2.30 in the afternoon I did my usual check of the status of the caterpillars in the milkweed pots.
When I glanced at the ledge where this monarch had pupated, I didn't expect to see her there, drying her wings.
After her wings were dry, the monarch crawled away from her empty chrysalis.
When I checked again 40 minutes later, the butterfly was gone.
Since I didn't see her, and it was a very warm afternoon with an occasional breeze, I assumed she flew away.
But this morning I saw the butterfly in the area near where she eclosed yesterday, perched on the frond of a tree fern. She must have spent the night roosting there.
Apparently she was waiting on the frond for the temperature to rise so that she could fly.
As soon as the sun shone down on her, she flew high up in the air and landed on the blooming blackberry hedge.
There the monarch spent quality time sipping nectar from the blossoms before she flew away, off to adventures.
I always find it bittersweet when the monarchs emerge and fly away.
Because I spend several weeks watching them grow from tiny eggs, feeding on milkweed we grow, I almost feel like their mother.