Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Love for Monarchs

The start of  a weekends hike begins with an orientation on Monarch Butterfly tagging. This is a program out  of the University of Kansas studying population and migration of this species.In the last twenty years their population has greatly decreased almost 90% due to agricultural and logging practices in the tiny area they migrate to in Mexico.The good part is it has increased slightly in the last two years.I have been trying to boost their numbers and habitat around me for a few decades. It has became a part of my life to join as many tagging groups that I can become part of, teaching youngsters a purpose to carry on long after I am gone.This  group will work over 3000 acres  at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge.

A short skit allows all to increase their interests with what we will be doing.

Not only did this young man hike into tall prairie blooms looking for butterflies, he also volunteered in the gift shop afterwards. Here he is the flower one must wait for the butterfly to land on before the taggers capture and tag it.Patience can be hard for young and old alike.

I sighted more butterflies after the tagging party, but still had a good time making some new friends.

Wait come back, I just want a picture. This adolescent was uncaring for my wishes, but fun to watch as he wandered. When a male reaches about three, they either stay with the herd, or wander on their own. He has found a niche he enjoys rather than competing with the other bulls.

Peek a boo
A huge Cottonwood out on the prairie.

This appeared like a sanctuary to me.
I laughed when I found this huge vine. I had a vine start growing in a flower bed outside of my bedroom window.I thought it was either  a cucumber or gourd a bird had planted.It has grow wildly, but without blooms.I have placed string for it to follow a number of times and rerouted the vines back toward their beginning, only to have it keep growing the other direction. It attached to the brick and my screen, and is charming to listen to the rustle of leaves in the breeze. It has yet to bloom. Then I found this giant vine growing up a tall tree, with the same leaves.I have a lot of driftwood in  the garden and feel the seed may have came with it, since it was all newly placed this year.I guess I won't be getting any fruits, but need to identify this specimen because that is how I work.Meanwhile I still love to listen to it in the evenings and when I wake in the morning, blowing on a prairie breeze.

Still some new blooms tantalizing me with their beauty.
Fall colors prevail


  1. So cute to see the children in their monarch costumes. Nice to get them involved in something like this.

  2. I didn't know you had buffalo in Kansas. That is an incredible picture of the young bull looking at you. I hope you used a zoom lens.
    It warms the cockles of my heart when people take care of our natural animals and plants. Good luck with the Monarch tagging.

  3. Hi Steve - it's great you're out with the kids encouraging them in all things natural, but particularly with the Monarchs ...

    Lovely surroundings - and that 'baby young adult bull' a sight to behold ... the vine is wonderful to see and will be so full of life soon ... even taller reaching for that sky.

    I don't know whether you've ever heard of Flanders and Swann - British satirical and comic composer and singers ... this tale tells of the honeysuckle growing one way, and the bindweed twisting the other ...

    The Youtube link to the song is near the end ... but the kids might enjoy singing it too ...

    It looks at plants and people in a different light ... they were (and are) such fun to listen to ... cheers Hilary

  4. That little boy makes a cute flower :)

  5. That's a first class program to help encourage all ages to enjoy & preserve the prairie & it's wildlife.
    Enjoyed the peekaboo shots of the young bull!

  6. It does my heart good to see youngsters who are interested in the things of nature. Including them in the project will keep them interested for life.

  7. Love the idea of the Monarch tagging class for kids. I pray the generations to come will be mindful of nature than past generations were. The last photo is breathtaking. Beautiful.

  8. Educating youngsters about the monarchs is most important. You had to blunder into the area. they will have a head start.

  9. It is remarkable that you can tag a butterfly without hurting it.

  10. I'm glad that there are programs like this. I have noticed that I don't see as many butterflys as I used to and I wish I knew what I could do about it.

  11. What a neat program. The monarchs like the yellow wild flowers we have growing in our far pasture when they come passing through.

  12. I agree as we saw more monarchs this year than in the past several...:)

  13. Is it wild cucumber what you are describing? I thought that was very destructive?? Your shy buffalo reminds ne of the book, Ferdinand.

  14. How do you tag a butterfly?
    What a worthwhile project to donate your time to.

  15. Aww. How cute. It makes me think of down in Mexico seeing all of the monarchs gathering in the valley to breed. It's an absolutely incredible sight.


Keep it positive and informative,I enjoy hearing from you!