Here's a pic of her fluttering in the box before I transferred her to the mesh pop-up hamper where she would have more flutter room and it would be easier for me to carry down to the lake:
I like this flutter-motion shot.
As far as I know, she didn't sip any of the syrup water or watermelon I gave her. The hamper would give her a little more than double the room this box gave her, and a softer surface to flutter against.
Tuxie was very entertained by this new roommate when he saw her fluttering in the hamper Thursday morning.
Saki was also entertained.
Saki and Tuxie entranced. I don't think Moo ever became aware of Verid's presence, as she is often content to spend her time wandering in the Mooverse.
Ms. Verid being safe from inquiring paws.
I laid a flat mesh laundry bag over the top as a lid to close the open hamper. They sell butterfly enclosures online for $20 that are pretty much what I have here after spending $2 at the Dollar Tree. I'm not sure I like how they're selling these things online for kids--I'm not sure if they're telling the kids they need to set the butterflies free, and some of them they're selling along with butterfly nets to encourage the kids to go out and catch butterflies. You'll hear more about this from me in my next entry.
I showed Verid off to a neighbor and a couple of people I passed on our journey down to the lake. The eyes of a little kid walking with his father down by the lake got big as saucers when I told him about raising her from a caterpillar and setting her free. I enjoyed talking with someone who got the wonder of it all.
I gave Verid lots of motherly advice. I told her not to fly too close to the coast as she made her way south, as I've seen too many monarch wings washed up with the seaweed on Delaware and Maryland beaches. And to avoid car grill plates and jet fuselages. And look out for birds, bats, and other predators that may not have gotten the memo that monarchs are full of alkaloids that make them poisonous, or are the type to take that one impetuous bite before their better senses kick in because that's all it would take. And I gave her such a talk to go to Mexico and stay there; don't go north in the spring to mate and die, but stay in Mexico and live forever. Don't even come back just to say "Hi." Stay there. It was such a talk that Thingol and Elrond would have totally high-fived me.
This was our destination down by the lake--not too far from where I found her as a caterpillar, but with more wildflowers that hadn't been mowed down.
Apparently I know how to pick monarch happening places, because when we arrived, this fellow was here to greet us like he was the Monarch Butterfly Tourist Bureau Public Relations Officer. Verid was still in the hamper I was holding while this fellow was very busy sipping nectar.
The black pheromone spot on his lower wing is how you can tell he's a male monarch. And here he was to supply the compulsory heterosexual closure to make this all into some kind of fucking Disney movie.
This monarch had that shiny new look with no wing tatters at all. I would not be surprised if he was one of Verid's brothers, newly emerged not much longer before she did. I didn't see any other monarch caterpillars in the stand of milkweed when I found Verid, but he could have gone into chrysalis before I saw her and was safely on one of the shrubs the parks dept managed to not mow down.
So I opened the hamper and walked Verid onto my finger, and then she flew up and over a large shrub. I don't know if she noticed Mr. Pubic Relations Officer. And I did not expect to see her again, but I went around the bush after I threw out her hamper, and she was just sitting there on the other side of the bush getting her bearings and being beautiful.
Verid was opening and closing her wings, getting used to the open air. I suppose she was still not ready to start sipping nectar or she would have flown toward the flowers.
I took this pic and looked down. When I looked up again, Verid was gone. That was her way of things. I'm grateful she granted me these pics before she left.
So I went back and took some more pics of this beautiful, photogenic guy.
The black spot is a lot more pronounced on the back side of the lower wing than the front.
I was shooting into the overcast sun in these pics, so they're a bit exposed to get the colors, but I like the translucency of his wings here.
Then he flew up into a cedar tree close by because I was giving him the scary mother-in-law talk just in case he got any stupid ideas about September matings. Again, nods of approval from Thingol and Elrond.
Here he is making believe he doesn't hear me lalalalalala.
I went around the lake and encountered no other monarchs. Then I came back again to the stand of wildflowers. The monarch boy was still there and had returned to the wildflowers to feast some more. I suppose he may be tanking up for the long flight. I didn't see any sign of Verid. It turned out to be a rainy night, but with mild winds, and Verid had several hours to situate herself before it began, so I trusted she would manage herself in flying butterfly colors.
I don't know if there are more monarchs from this brood around the lake, and if they'll hang around here for a couple of weeks before heading south, or take off quickly. But I know I'll enjoy keeping an eye out for them on my daily walks. Little did I expect that I might see Verid in the circumstances that I encountered today, but that tale will have to wait until the next entry . . . .
Also posted at http://lavendertook.dreamwidth.org/1214