My wish has come true. I have seen my Monarchs go full cycle from tiny caterpillars to become beautiful butterflies. I have waited in my backyard for many hours watching and hoping for this wonderful transformation. And yesterday I finally saw and photographed an emergence. It is still a miracle to me. About two days before this event the chrysalis begins to change color. And in the last hours before the butterfly emerges the chrysalis gets very dark and the wings of the butterfly inside become visible. Then without fanfare the bottom of the chrysalis cracks open and the Monarch inside slowly emerges. In a matter of moments it is out and holding onto the empty shell of the chrysalis. For the next few minutes it pumps the fluid it has in it's abdomen into its wings until they expand to reveal their full glory. Once the wings are full size it still takes about an hour for them to harden. The new Monarch then climbs up to a good launch site where it practices flapping its wings and then....it takes off. I can only tell you that my heart lifted with joy as I saw a Monarch take its first flight. We have successfully 'hatched' 8 Monarchs so far and we still have 9 chrysalises and at least 6 caterpillars to go.
If you are traveling to the Central Coast of California you can find my photography for sale in the Gallery at Marina Square on the Embarcadero in Morro Bay and in the Cayucos Art Association Gallery at the foot of the Cayucos Pier.