We drove across Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas yesterday. It was a long drive. We started by 8:30 or 9 and didn’t manage to stop for the night until nearly 11 pm. I noticed butterflies flying south across the highway in Texas. They were moving like monarchs but I couldn’t positively ID any of them. We are planning to go up to Enchanted Rock today and then head down to Eagle Pass. No pictures today… but hopefully we’ll have a few tomorrow. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JASON.
We are spending the day at Carole Jordan’s place in Laurel, Mississippi. Carole traveled with me on my first trip to Mexico. She maintains an apartment in Zitacuaro where she has lived several winters since 2004. She will help us work on our travel plans and has offered to let us stay at her place at Zitacuaro near the monarch butterfly reserves.
There is tropical milkweed growing and blooming in her yard. All three chrysalides that have traveled with us from WV have eclosed and I released them this morning to nectar on the milkweed. All of them were males.
Susie Fry, Carole Jordan Ba Rea, Ronnie Wiseman
Tuesday afternoon I left West Virginia, going to Virginia to pick up my traveling companions Bill and Susie Fry. The skies were a beautiful, deep blue. I drove through the woods off of the Knobs in shower of falling leaves. The fall colors have peaked and many trees were bare. As I passed a field full of dried milkweed, fluff and seed danced through the air crossing the road. West Virginia is no longer monarch territory for this year. We’ve had a couple of frosts after a dry spell that did in most of the milkweed. Monday I did find a patch of green, still healthy-looking milkweed persisting in a damp, sheltered spot, but not many flowers are left for butterflies to nectar on. Most of our monarch butterflies have left for more suitable territory. I am carrying with me 3 chrysalides from late season monarch caterpillars that had I had found as eggs in at field at Jay Cooper’s place on the Knobs in late September.
Yesterday we got up early and drove south. We made good time on what we hope to be one of our longest days of just straight driving, arriving in Montgomery, Alabama around 5 pm. There is still green foliage down here! While we were out to dinner with Brian and Buttons King, one of the monarchs that are travelling with us emerged from its chrysalis. Today we will travel to Laurel, Mississippi and spend the night with Carole Jordan who tells me she is still seeing monarchs at her place.
Internet connection for my laptop has been frustrating…I am writing from Brian’s computer in the middle of the night. I am sharing a room with the computer. It wakes up and lights up the room every 15 or 20 minutes…I figured that it is telling me that I needed to say something! We plan to stop at a Starbucks today and I may be able to download some background information on monarchs and photos that I had hoped to share.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be heading south to catch up with the monarch butterflies as they migrate to their overwintering sites in Michoacan, Mexico. This is my first attempt at blogging so it may take a little while to get it right, but I hope to post pictures and observations for friends, family, and students. Check back and see if I can do it!