Yesterday I blogged about the freeze damage in the garden, and my concerns for the Monarch caterpillars and chrysalises.
Well this morning, when I went outside to feed the birds (quite a bit later than my weekday, pre-dawn bird feeding) I caught sight of a flutter of beautiful orange and black on the ground.
One of the chrysalises underneath the bird bath had emerged!
She was sitting on the ground, soaking up the winter sun, unfolding her wings.
I left her walk on to my hand and transported her to a nearby container full of violas, so she has some nectar when she's ready.
A couple of the other chrysalises look like there's still change going on inside, so hopefully we'll see more beauties for Christmas!
The story is not over for this young lady yet.
Her wings didn't
straighten out properly, so two days later, she's still unable to fly.
She didn't appear to be drinking from the plant I put her on and she was
becoming lethargic, so I mixed up some nectar for her and she sat on my
hand having a drink yesterday.
Today, I went out and bought some fresh
sponges to dip in the sugar water and hang up over the container of
pansies. She's been climbing up and down the ribbon they are hanging
from and taking sips of the nectar.
I don't have much hope that she
will fly, but I'm doing all I can to make her short life as comfortable
as it can be.
On the plus side, two more of the chrysalises hatched and I
saw the butterflies fly through the garden a little while ago, in
search of nectar. Perhaps they will join my little girl on the sponges
now I've come inside.
We made the butterfly as comfortable as we could. Because of the expected high winds over Christmas, we brought her inside and set her up in a large cardboard box which I punched holes in for air circulation. We also set some branches in there, with the sponges dipped in sugar water hanging from them. For a few days she rested comfortably, either climbing the branches or sipping from the sponges.
Then, two days ago I found her lying on the bottom of the box. She was still moving feebly, so I set her on a nest of soft tissue.
This morning we laid her to rest in a special spot in the butterfly garden.
I hope she is flying free now.
Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.