It was with mixed emotions that I tagged my butterfly today and let her go. I was happy to watch her climb to the tops of the trees then later, free fall to feed on the sunflowers.
I loved seeing them as caterpillars too, ravenously munching on Algonquin milkweed. In the blink of any eye they became cocoons, before morphing magically into these beauties.
Arowhon Pines became a monarch way station last year as part of www.monarchwatch.org. We reared and tagged 19 butterflies. This year there were 180 caterpillars! So far 160 butterflies have been tagged and now they are setting out on their journey to Mexico! The rest will be hatching soon!
The most heartwarming of all was to see everyone, guests and staff, both young and young at heart, enjoying the experience.
A BIG heartfelt thank you to Donna who researched all of this, and whose genuine enthusiasm, patience and hard work made this a huge success!
Bon Voyage Butterflies!
P.S. As happy that I was seeing the monarchs, I could not help feeling a little angry, sad and ashamed that something like Monarch Watch has to exist at all. We’ve cut down their habitat, mainly milkweed and poisoned their environment. Did you know that last year was the poorest on record for monarch sightings in Mexico, where they roost for the winter? What of our brown bats too whom we have not seen for years? Do you remember the barn swallows that used to live in the rafters of our dining room verandah? They too have disappeared from here.