So many Monarch butterflies on McDowell Creek! They have been drifting through by the hundreds this week, day after day. The ones pictured here are newly eclosed--you can see how bright their colors are, how strong and whole their wings.The ones in this video are nectaring on Jerusalem Artichoke sunflowers by the creek and then on Maximillian sunflowers in the Creek Field.
These newly emerged Monarchs have reproductive systems that have not yet matured. They are not interested in mating but rather in gathering nectar to fuel the long flight ahead.
They are headed for Mexico! There they will cluster with thousands of others in a mountain fir forest. This is where their great-grandparents started out, and they have never been there, but somehow they will find their way to this exact spot. If they survive the winter, they will mature and head north a few hundred miles, where they will mate, lay eggs, and die. It's their children who God willing will drift north through McDowell Creek next spring.