Monday, September 19, 2011

Amazing Sights This Spring

Dear Readers,

So much has been happening this Spring, I hardly know where to begin.  I have really seen some amazing sights this season.  Before I share my experiences, let me mention that I've decided this year to focus on raising as much Milkweed in my yard as I can.  I'm not ruling out the possibility of rearing a few Monarchs this fall, but my primary focus will be on Milkweed.  Interestingly, if you plant Milkweed, the Monarchs will find you.  It's amazing how they sniff it out.

1.  Our first Monarch sighting was on March 8th of this year.  Normally, the Monarchs reach our area between March 1st and 15th each year.  It was such a pleasure to see them return as they are heading back north to Canada.

2.  Just the other day, my children and I had the experience of a lifetime - something I have never witnessed before in the wild.  We were playing in the front yard of our home, when suddenly, what looked like a Monarch butterfly came falling to the ground from a nearby tree.  Upon closer inspection, it was two Monarchs - a male and female.  The male had grabbed the female either in the tree or in midair, and the two fell to the ground together.  I suddenly realized that I was observing a pair of wild Monarchs mating for the first time in my life.  After about a minute or so on the ground, the pair were coupled, and the male suddenly lifted off carrying the female with him.  He flew them to a nearby tree and landed on a branch there so they wouldn't be disturbed.  It was quite a remarkable sight.  I was hoping to get it on videotape, but by the time I got the camera, they were flying away and it was too late.  So, I learned it's important to always have your camera/camcorder nearby when your outside watching nature.  You never know what you might see.

3.  Just yesterday, my family and I took my parents, who are in town visiting from South Carolina, to a nearby state park called Goose Island State Park.  There we took them to see "Big Tree", an enormous giant Texas Live Oak that is over 1,000 years old!  While there, we saw Monarchs traveling through on their way towards Canada.

Well, sorry for this belated post, but those are some of the highlights from this Spring here on the Gulf Coast.

Happy Monarching!


Hummingbirds Are An Exception

Hello Everyone,

As everyone in the country knows, Texas has been in a horrible drought this year.  Up until last week in which we got a couple of brief showers, we hadn't had any rainfall in about six months.  Needless to say, that has made it difficult to do any kind of horticulture or work with my butterflies.  It's just been to hot and dry. 

This year's 4th or 5th generation of Monarch's have already left Canada now and are on their way to Mexico.  Last year, I noticed that they began to appear in our area close to Corpus Christi in the first two weeks of October.  It will be interesting to see if they come through at the same time this year or not.

In other news, a couple of weeks ago, my sister-in-law Heather sent an email out to everyone about remembering to have our hummingbird feeders out because they are migrating through, and it being so dry, they need our help.  I'm so glad she did that, because I had taken mine down due to repairs and painting on my house and had forgotten to put them back up.

Well, I went ahead and put them back up again, and to my surprise, two hummingbirds were feeding from them the very next morning!  Fast forward to this morning and there are eight feeding together and getting along pretty well.  I filled up the feeder yesterday afternoon, and it is almost empty this morning.  I have two feeders, but one seems to work better than the other.  The other one tends to leak.  I plan to get a few more feeders when I have the chance.  They are facinating to watch.

I came across this video on YouTube which shows hummingbirds eating out of people's hands.  I think you will enjoy it.

Additionally, I have posted below some pictures and a video clip of my feeder.  I hope you enjoy them.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, normally I don't encourage birds to reside in my yard because they tend to eat butterflies.  However, the hummingbird is an exception since they eat only nectar.

I hope you enjoy the hummingbirds and Monarch butterflies that will be migrating through your area this fall.

Happy Monarching!


(Hummingbirds feeding at my house - 09/19/2011)

(Up to eight hummingbirds were feeding together at this one feeder!)

(Someone's getting a cool morning drink of nectar.)