Saturday, May 14, 2005

Caterpillar Photos


is a photo of tiny, days-old Monarch butterfly caterpillars on Purple Milkweed.

And at

is another picture which better illustrates the lovely flowers of this milkweed.

The photos were taken in the North Fork canyon south of Gold Run at about 1850' elevation, on a steep meadowy south-facing slope. As a child I loved the Monarch butterfly caterpillars, living jewels, and developed a facility for finding their chrysalises, also like jewels.

As an adult I mysteriously lost the childhood instincts which often led me to these caterpillars. Years and years go by without seeing any. So I was pleased to find these.

This is a banner year for wildflowers. I have made more trips into the canyon than usual this spring, often to the HOUT, and have watched as one species finishes its bloom, and another begins. The larger blue bush lupine has set seed, but the Harlequin Lupine is still in full bloom. This area is on the cusp of transition into the late-spring peak bloom; the grasses are setting seed and turning brown, while new flowers like Blue Field Gilia, and the shrub Mock Orange, always late-season species, are making their first appearances.

The poison oak flourishes as I have never seen before, and mosquitos gather in menacing clouds if one stops to rest on a steep trail. And they don't just threaten; they act, and quite vigorously.

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