I had to mow the yards about the ranch house this afternoon. Brown grass ignites quickly when the wind is strong and humidity low. I leave strips of dead vegetation — grass, shrubs, even broom grass — for small birds flitting among the stalks and even a field mouse running through the arbor they find protective.
As I mowed about this live oak tree, pictured first and above, a solitary monarch butterfly came out flapping, perturbed it seemed at the roar of motor. It is November 21, 2010, and the monarch needs to be across the Rio Grande! Not here! The butterfly flitted around the tree. There is flowering verbena still in the pastures for their food. I mowed around the patches of verbena this afternoon before I saw the monarch. I hoped the monarch would go back and roost. It was close to the sunset.
After mowing, I fed Star and Lilly and fetched the camera, hoping I could find the monarch and present incontrovertible evidence that they are still migrating. The tree is relatively large and many options for a sleep-over are convenient for the monarch, and after searching for five minutes or so, I gave up trying to find the little guy and took a photograph of the tree, having to use the flash. The monarch may be in the photo or it flew southward, to the left of the light, for Mexico and warmer climes.
- Monarch Butterfly Roost at Flying Hat Ranch (swamericana.wordpress.com)
- The other side of nature (swamericana.wordpress.com)
- Study finds monarch butterflies use medicinal plants to treat offspring for disease (eurekalert.org)