Late Monarchs

Tucson, November 12, 2012

These two monarchs were dancing in the mesquite tree outside my kitchen window today.  A few weeks too late?  I thought that they should be in Mexico by Halloween.  They were mentioned in my Bugs class.  One butterfly travels all of the way from Canada to Mexico.  They don’t get eaten because, due to the milkweed the young caterpillars eat, they are poisonous.  (The adult butterfly can drink nectar from any flower.)  But the way north in the spring takes up to three generations.  The group flies a third of the way, then stops to mate, lay eggs and die.  The next generation goes another third of the way, and so on.

 Some groups of Monarchs migrate for over 2,000 miles during August-October, flying from Canada and the USA to overwinter in coastal southern California to the transvolcanic mountains of central Mexico. [On the way north] females lay their eggs along the migratory route. This migration takes up to three generations of Monarchs to complete. (Other Monarchs stay in one area their entire lives.)

The life span of the adult Monarch varies, depending on the season in which it emerged from the pupa and whether or not it belongs to a migratory group of Monarchs. Adults that emerged in early summer have the shortest life spans and live for about two to five weeks. Those that emerged in late summer survive over the winter months. The migratory Monarchs, which emerge from the pupa in late summer and then migrate south, live a much longer life, about 8-9 months.

Note: Monarchs plan an important role in Barbara Kingsolver’s new book, Flight Behavior: A Novel.

Mesquite bean coyote

My camera has a silent setting so that you can take surreptitious photos of people.  But I think the mesquite-bean-eating coyote sensed my presence, or heard the whirr of the zoom lens.  Got one photo through the glass, but when I stood up, he had slunk into the underbrush.  We should eat so healthy a diet!

Hurricane Relief

Ok, I haven’t helped with disaster relief since working in Mississippi after Katrina hit and donating a bunch to the Clinton/Bush fund for Haiti relief.  But… I would have loved to have seen the Romney family with their sleeves rolled up, working a soup kitchen in New York or New Jersey this last week.  (Didn’t happen.)  Or maybe he could donate his $3 million to Sandy victims this year, rather than the Mormon church.  (Won’t happen.)

More than $116.2 million has been raised for victims of Hurricane Sandy.  The donors are listed.1   The billionaire Koch brothers are not on the list, even though they reportedly pledged $60 million in an attempt to defeat President Obama this year.  Neither is Sheldon Adelson, who donated $20 million to the Super PAC backing Newt Gingrich.  Nor Harold Simmons (who traffics in toxic chemicals and hazardous waste as head of Contran) who spent $3 million to Swift-boat John Kerry in 2004.2  I could go on.  You get the drift.

1http://philanthropy.com/blogs/2012sandy/2012/11/08/update-fundraising-for-sandy-victims-totals-more-than-116-2-million/

2http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/right-wing-billionaires-behind-mitt-romney-20120524

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3 Responses to “Late Monarchs”

  1. Jim Says:

    Eye to eye, with god’s dog. What beautiful shot.

  2. Laura Says:

    Great shots!! You have the best backyard…

  3. Kim Blair Says:

    I love the coyote photo!

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