Sunday, January 23, 2011

A great 'catch'.

Last weekend Don and I participated in the 15th annual Morro Bay Bird Festival. There were so many great field trips and lectures that it was hard to choose among them. On Sunday we opted to take the Bay Cruise for photographers. Morro Bay is rich with birds and other wildlife at this time of year. My best "catch of the day" was of an Osprey with a fish it had just caught. It is interesting to see how the Osprey carries the fish. It is so very aerodynamic.

On the Monarch front, about 8 caterpillars are still munching away on our Milkweed and we now have 14 Monarch chrysalis jewels hanging from various plants and twigs in  our yard. They could start changing into butterflies any day now. I keep checking them daily and I really hope I get to see at least one transformation.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


It has been my delight this New Year to watch the progress of our Monarch caterpillars. After a caterpillar has eaten its fill of Milkweed and increased to a  mature size, it sets off in search of a nearby plant and crawls up into it. There it to settles into in a "J" shape and hangs down from a branch to await its transition into a chrysalis. So far we have had 6 caterpillars go into their "J". After about 3 days they make their big change. I missed seeing the first 4, but yesterday I spent hours in our backyard waiting for #5. And my persistence paid off. I was able to observe and photograph the entire process. It is truly amazing. Once the skin cracked open it only took 4 minutes for the chrysalis to emerge. At this stage it was pliable and wiggled until the old skin fell off. It then took another 30 minutes for it to attain its final form. And somehow a beautiful Monarch butterfly will emerge in a few weeks. I hope I have the good fortune to see that too.