During the spring Monarch Butterfly migration the butterflies are big with bright colors. For the fall Monarch butterfly migration they somehow seem a little smaller and duller. They are still beautiful.
We have grown several kinds of milkweeds for years. Each year the Monarchs arrive in the spring and fall.
Ozark springs have been cool and wet the last couple years. Milkweeds don’t grow well in cool weather. The Monarchs arrive to find small plants struggling to survive.
In the fall the milkweeds have bloomed and some have set seed. Others still have their seed pods ripening. The plants are shutting down for the year.
Still, the plants have plenty of leaves for several caterpillars to munch on. Monarch butterflies keep producing more as they move south. Not all of them will beat the cold weather.
It’s a good thing some people grow milkweeds for the fall Monarch butterfly migration. The road crew has cut them down along the road ditches. The city crews have cut them down along electric rights of way. The Conservation Department has cut them down trying to control uncontrollable lespedeza.
I find it ironic that the Conservation Department urges private land owners to plant milkweeds for the Monarchs and cuts their own down.
Today a half dozen Monarch butterflies wafted through stopping to visit the wildflowers for nectar and the milkweeds to lay eggs. Only the Butterfly milkweed is still blooming.
The butterflies seem to move in erratic paths. This must be to elude would be predators. It works for photographers too.
If the fall Monarch butterfly migration continues as in past years, we will see several of them a day for a week or so. Then they will be gone along with the hummingbirds and the warblers.
Even now the trees are getting ready to show off their fall colors. I’m not ready for summer to end.
Find out about more natural happenings in “Exploring the Ozark Hills.”