DAY 40 – 09Feb2011 – Snow Tracks

Project 365, Day 40 – Snow Tracks.

Arriving at the office the morning after an unexpected mini-blizzard, I found that the first person to work was actually a pheasant…

If only I could train it to answer the phone, it might be of a little help!

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DAY 11 – 11Jan2011 – Uh-oh!

Uh-oh!

My intention today for a Gardens Project 365 photo was in the realm of a nice purple berry against the snow. But then I saw this… oh deer!

A deer print may not be cause for alarm in most worlds, but within the perimeter of our 8′ perimeter Deer Fence, well this little hoof-print is most unwelcome as it means a breach in our fence and may also involve trying to herd a deer OUT a small gate in the fence – no easy feat!

More deer tracking tomorrow…

 

It’s a BOY – final Monarch born!

Our 3rd and last monarch butterfly of the season was ‘born’ yesterday in its little glass house at the Historic Gardens. It was a very small chrysalis, and resulted in a small butterfly.

Today, a small crowd gathered to wish him well as we released ‘Spark’ into the wild in the Victorian Garden.

‘Spark’ was the name selected from suggestions we received from our visitors – given his size and general ‘spunkiness’, the name seemed to fit!

‘Spark’ was good enough to linger on a pink Zinnia plenty long enough for everyone to get loads of pictures!

And eventually, he took off…

Farewell Spark!

It’s a GIRL!!!! again…

My last blog post was written after the emergence of the first of our 3 monarchs a couple days ago. Well, happily, #1 was released on Tuesday in the Victorian Garden and immediately took to the skies. We christened her “Freedom”, an apt name chosen from dozens of visitor suggestions.

Today, another monarch emerged, and this time I was very close by. I missed seeing the actual emergence by about 60 seconds – I saw it was about to happen and ran for my camera… when I returned she was perched on her spent chrysalis. She was quick! Nonetheless, I got some really cool photos of a “One Minute Old” monarch butterfly!

Note her size – not a lot larger than the chrysalis shell. And her wings are fairly wrinkled still from being all folded up… Now check out the following photo, taken about 1/2 hour later, and note her size in relation to the chrysalis!

The following photo shows her swollen abdomen, full of fluid that she then pushes into her wings…

How do we know she’s a girl? Well, the female monarch has wider/bolder striping than the male. And the male has a small circle/dot on each wing. So she’s definitely a girl.

Photos of the various stages of our  2010 monarchs can be found in our Facebook photo album.

We’ll be releasing her (and naming her) in the morning at 9am… spectators welcome!

T.

Witnessing a Miracle!

Every now and then one is privileged enough to witness Mother Nature at her very best. And today was one of those times at the Historic Gardens!

We’ve been watching three monarch caterpillars for the past few weeks, brought in to us for safekeeping until they are released, and for educational purposes. We’ve all studied metamorphosis in school… but to witness it first hand is another thing altogether!

The caterpillars were small, but as they settled into their glass house they started to eat… and eat, and eat!

Eventually each, in turn, spun a little silk and then hung in a “J” shape for a day or so, getting ready for their next stage.

Then they started to wiggle, and soon afterward their skin started to split and in the span of just a few minutes they shed their caterpillar skin and turned into a green chrysalis.

The chrysalis smoothed out, some metallic green dots and decorations appeared and the chrysalis just hung around for the next week or more.

Then it was time. The green chrysalis started to darken yesterday, and then became transparent – by this morning you could see the butterfly clearly through the chrysalis.

By this afternoon, more subtle changes and then, when I wasn’t looking, a beautiful female butterfly emerged from the chrysalis.

When I first saw her she was very new and her wings were still somewhat wrinkled. As we watched, she pumped her wings – pushing the liquid in her abdomen into the wings.

After a couple hours here wings were full size, flattened out, and simply gorgeous!

Chrysalis #1 has now emerged, as of this day. Chrysalis #2 will emerge within the next day or two. #3 is about a week behind the others.

We will be releasing #1 into the wild within the next couple days, and probably #2 at the same time!

Flying on her Own…

We gathered this morning to release our beautiful monarch friend in the Victorian Gardens where there are lots of butterfly-friendly flowers for her to feed on!

Karen carrying the "butterfly house" into the garden...

Karen carrying the "butterfly house" into the garden...

The crowd gathers...

The crowd gathers...

She's feeling the fresh air, getting ready to go...

She's feeling the fresh air, getting ready to go...

Getting closer...

Getting closer...

Baby's first step...

Baby's first step...

And she finds a perch to rest for a bit...

And she finds a perch to rest for a bit...

One of our young visitors named her: “Queen Bright Wing”… a perfect name! Thanks Sam!

Perhaps next entry I’ll provide some more pics and a bit more information. But for now, stay safe Madame Butterfly!

It’s a Girl!

At about 1:30pm today, our Monarch emerged! What a beautiful creature!

The darkened chrysalis this morning...

The darkened chrysalis this morning...

And a couple hours later...

And a couple hours later...

Unfortunately for us, she chose to emerge when nobody was there to witness it! But here’s a link to a series of shots capturing the emergence of another Monarch…