September 20 – Monarch mania

As usual, we ordered 100 monarch tags for our classes this year.  Only once in five years have we used them all, and that was a while ago.  We have already used up this year’s supply, and the migration is only half over.  We tried to get more, but they won’t Fedex them to us.   It’s 10 to 15 days to ship them, and by then the migration will be mostly over.  Too bad.  I tagged 25 in my own back yard.  The classes really had fun, unlike in the years when monarchs are tough to find.  Now that I’m out of tags, I can spend some time trying to photograph them. 

Monarch female, ventral Monarch female, dorsal

My neighbor’s butterfly bush is a reliable place to find monarchs.  Then many spend the night in the line of trees behind our yards.

Skipper on zinnia Skipper sunning

Little skippers–maybe Peck’s skipper on the right. 

Common buckeye Silver-spotted skipper–spot not visible from this angle.

Common buckeye, close-up

I cropped the lower image very tight to show the detail on body and hindwing.

Three small froggies One big frog

There must be six or eight frogs living in my little pond in the back yard.  I wouldn’t think it would support that many.  I guess they just need a few bugs to get by, and we’ve got plenty of them.

Juvenile wheel bugs

Speaking of bugs, these three wheel bug nymphs (see the wing pads) were hanging out behind the house.  They appear to be all the same age, but I don’t know why siblings of this species would be socializing together. 

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