Hunting for Monarch Chrysalis

Yesterday my partner dropped me halfway up the big hill in town, and I walked home via the water tower, which is a couple of kilometres away.  The reason was, I have been observing the milkweed on the outskirts of farmland there, for the last couple of years, hoping to spot a Monarch Butterfly chrysalis.  I haven’t seen one in years, but I’m determined to find one.

I know the Monarch Butterflies lay their eggs on the Milkweed plant (which is considered a pest), and right now it has pretty white flowers in full bloom, with nectar dripping from the flowers.  The Milkweed plants contain a sticky white sap inside the stems if you happen to break one.  The larvae or caterpillars fee on this, and this makes them toxic to eat, which works as a defence against predators.  I’ve seen empty chrysalis hanging off the barbed wire fence and even on the pretty noxious weed called Lantana bush, which has clusters of pink and yellow flowers.   Unfortunately, I still haven’t seen any healthy live chrysalis yet, but I can’t wait until I do!

What I did see, were two gorgeous tiny striped yellow, black and white monarch caterpillars about 2cm, and a couple of days ago, I saw a really large one about 6-7cm with a wide girth and a smaller one.  Also, I saw at least one Monarch butterfly and Cabbage Butterfly flitting around, so hopefully it’s just a matter of time until I get to see and photograph my first live green Monarch Butterfly chrysalis.  I’ll let you know when I do!

It was really interesting to study the milkweed to see what else was living on it’s leaves, a large amount of baby snails that are cuter than cute, seemed to have the plants covered, and making a real meal of them, as well, there were plenty of orange ladybirds.

After leaving the milkweed behind, and continuing my walk home, I saw some beautiful purple wildflowers, purple lavender with bees gathering away (too fast for me to capture on film), gorgeous purple and green grass and clover that was so big, you could see the detail of each little bud with the naked eye.

To make my day, I saw an Eastern Rosella fly onto a post on the opposite side of the road, and I stopped to just enjoy, while I looked on, two more Rosellas arrived and flew into the long grass appearing to be eating something on the ground, then all three flew straight toward me, and I took a deep breath, as they swooped upward and over my head onto the power lines above me.  They were looking down at me curiously, and preening themselves, their red heads looks magnificent contrasting against the deep blue of the late afternoon sky.  I wished my battery hadn’t died at that point.  Still, it was interesting to listen to their bird call, and a kind of clicking sound they make and watch these beauties for a while until they flew off.  This is the first time I’ve seen Eastern Rosellas here, I usually see Rainbow Lorikeets.  I also saw a couple of Indian Myna Birds and a Crested Pigeon which makes a fascinating beating noise as it takes off.  I found out through Wikipedia that sounds comes from beating their wings!   I’m starting to listen carefully to the bird calls, to enable me to identify them by their sound, even when I can’t see them.

All in all, a wonderful day observing all kinds of wildlife, especially those with wings.

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