Monarch Butterflies Arrive in Alberta

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Four photos in one to show you the movement of butterfy wings. But not just any butterfly – this is a Monarch Butterfly! And it is in my garden! (Forgive all the exclamation marks, but I don’t think I have ever seen a Monarch butterfly in my yard before).

My very own Monarch Butterfly spent much of the morning  sucking up the nectar of the Pink Painted Daisies.

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There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.
– Richard Buckminster Fuller –

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Women, don’t get a tattoo. That butterfly looks great on your breast when you’re twenty or thirty, but when you get to seventy, it stretches into a condor.
– Billy Elmer –

A list of ‘Remarkable Feats of Navigation’ has to include the migration of these Monarch Butterflies.

Perhaps the Monarch in my yard found some milkweed and laid eggs, or maybe it was one of the many monarch butterflies that flew all the way from Canada to a winter home in Mexico – a journey of several thousand miles. Once in Mexico, Monarchs breed, lay eggs and eventually die. Three or four more generations of Monarchs come and go before another Monarch reaches Canada the following summer.

The Flutter Files
Scientific Name: Danaus plexippus
Alias: Monarch Butterfly
Migration: In Summer from as far north as Southern Canada to wintering grounds in Southern California or Mexico.
Date Seen: July 6, 2012
Location: North of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Movement.

63 thoughts on “Monarch Butterflies Arrive in Alberta

    1. Yes, their trip from Mexico to Canada is quite incredible. The butterfly in my yard is several generations removed from the butterfly that started the journey.

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    1. Actually it took very little patience. My butterfly was very obliging. I could get to within a foot of her/him and take as many pictures as I wanted.

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    1. Thank you Madelaine. If you move your eyes really quickly from one photo to the next, you can almost see movement!

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    1. Most butterflies do not sit so quietly for so long. I guess the Monarch has not got much to fear – they are very bitter tasting.

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  1. The photos are fantastic. Butterflies are so exciting.

    When my girls were small we raised some Anise Swallowtails (my neighbor was an entomologist who taught us how to raise a number of butterflies.) When they emerged from the chrysalis they were very docile and the girls often got them to sit (carefully) on their fingers before we released them outside.

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    1. That would be an exciting project for children, or for anyone for that matter. I’ve never seen a butterfly emerging.

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    1. The distance between their summer and winter homes can be 1200 to 2800 miles. Up to 5 generations of Monarchs are required to make the trip north, but the trip south is done by only one generation of butterflies. That is certainly incredible!

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      1. NOVA’s documentary about the Monarchs’ migration, The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies, was fascinating. Glad one of those amazing creatures chose to dwell in your yard for awhile.

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  2. Great to hear the Monarchs are all the way up there already. They got an early start this year because of the mild winter. So early, in fact, that around here the milkweed was barely up and I wondered what the caterpillars would do for food. Now we have drought, so I’m very pleased to hear of your beautiful visitor.

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    1. Apparently there are more Monarchs here in Alberta than there have ever been in recent history. That is good news.

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    1. I am much more interested in butterflies now that I am taking pictures of them. Thanks to the internet, it is pretty easy to identify them.

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    1. That would be a very interesting and satisfying hobby, I would imagine. A lot easier than caring for dogs or cats or goats, too.

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  3. why is it that we can be so deliciously mesmerized by a butterfly’s wings?
    or their spotted little body, with their crooked little legs, and waving antennae?

    thanks for sharing these beautiful photos. lovely. gorgeous, even.

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    1. Part of what I find fascinating is how they can look so delicate and fragile, and yet they can fly such long distances.

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  4. Gorgeous photos, Margie. You are so far north and you have Monarch butterflies, and I am in Virginia and haven’t seen any kind of butterfly in my garden yet. What’s with that?

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    1. Travel Alberta has done a pretty good job of advertising our province – maybe the Monarch Butterfly travel advisory group picked up on that!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Al. I joined your band of followers recently too! I enjoyed the story about your wife and her weed gathering. I can certainly appreciate her desire to help the children learn about Monarchs.

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