30 September, 2010

Monarch Butterfly Chrysalis and Signs of Autumn

This monarch butterfly chrysalis was hanging from the top tier of our trellis.  This is first ever chrysalis I have found in the "wild".  I think it is literally too little too late.  :-(  As far as I have been able to find out, monarchs do not overwinter as chrysalises at this latitude.  The butterflies actually migrate south from here all the way to Mexico to overwinter as adults.  In spring they begin to migrate north again and lay eggs along the way, caterpillars hatch and mature, and butterflies fly farther north, going through several generations before they reach our area.  I think time has run out for this little chrysalis because we will have our first freeze of autumn Saturday night.
I thought time had run out for the moon flowers too.  For the past week all the buds that should opened during the night failed to unfurl, probably due to the cool temps.  But our recent daytime temps in the low 70s (21 or so centigrade) allowed at least these last 2 buds to open completely.  I tried using a little paint brush to pollinate the flowers, but even though the flowers had opened, the pollen had not matured to be "fluffy" enough to adhere to the paint brush.  I tried anyway; we'll see if anything happens.
I took my camera with me work today to take some pictures from the 12th floor of the building where my office is.  I wanted to capture some of autumn colors of the trees.  You can see we are just getting started with the colors.  I hope I will have more later as the colors intensify.  I believe these are mostly maple trees that are showing color so far.
The day was so beautiful that I decided to walk partway home and took my camera with me.  Along the way, I took this picture of the sun low in the sky backlighting this goldenrod seedhead. 
I arranged for Dennis to pick me up on his way home at our favorite cheese shop where we bought some nice cheeses and a fresh French baguette to have for our dinner along with some of the wine that we bought at our visit to the nearby winery a couple of weeks ago.  A nice way to end our day and only one more work day to go until the weekend.


  1. Love the variety of colours in the panorama shot of the trees. I just have to know - what is the man made feature on the left which makes me think of an onion on a pole ;)

  2. HI Wilma,
    Yes winter will be here without us realizing it... When we left from France, the autumn colors on the tree were just appearing, but over here, the leaves are almost all gone from the trees... You got very nice pictures and I'm eager to see more of your autumn colors shots...

  3. Hi Wilma. Can you please delete me as Disabled birder of halling and re-enter me as
    as my old one is no more

  4. John - the onion on a stick is a water tower. I'll have to post a photo of another water tower that I think you will like. You will just have wait to see what it is!

    Chris - I am hoping for a nice long autumn this year. They are usually pretty short this far north. :-(

    Ken - sure thing. Thanks for letting me know. :-)

    thanks to all for visiting and leaving comments.


  5. That's a lovely view from work. I bet the leaf colours look amazing when they all turn.

    Cheese and wine.........perfect ;)

  6. Those tree colours look beautiful.

    The baguette, cheese and wine sounds wonderful, a great way to spend the evening :)

  7. Beautiful photos - especially the chrysallis and moon flower. Monarchs have been few in number in VT this Fall, but was pleased to see photos (from Dawn, I think) of many monarch in NJ. You asked in a comment on my fall warblers if I shoot from a blind - no. Just roaming, & waiting - then cropping at home.

  8. Keith -- the colors often come in waves. I think it will peak in about 5 more days.

    Jan -- it was a wonderful way to end the evening.:-)

    Chris -- thank you. Our monarch numbers seemed lower that in previous years, too. Even more impressive that you got those wonderful shots out in the open. I do a lot of cropping too! ;-)

    cheers to all,


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