Saturday, August 30, 2008

Raising Monarchs

We've got over a dozen monarch larvae and pupae in our kitchen right now, eating lots of milkweed. It is especially heartening to raise so many this year, because we've seen so few butterflies this summer -- it seems they can use all the protection from predators that they can get.

This generation should all be heading to Mexico when they emerge as butterflies. We tagged our first butterfly the other day using tags from Monarch Watch. They pay folks in Mexico for every tagged butterfly they find. So we'll be checking this winter to see if any of our babies made it!

UPDATE: As of 9/20, we've successfully hatched, tagged, and released 17 butterflies!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Jug Bay

Elizabeth took 24 hours off from non-stop proposal writing to spend a Tuesday night at Jug Bay, one of our favorite places to go canoeing. The butterflies weren't out in profusion like they have been in previous years (it seems like a bad year for butterflies in general). But we saw lots of other critters, especially birds.

the dock leading to our campsite

osprey and blue heron

Least Bittern

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Dolly Sods for the Other 4 Senses

We've got lots of pictures of previous trips to Dolly Sods (here and here, for example) so it wasn't too much of a disaster that our camera was being fixed when we went on our annual pilgrimage. But it made me think about all the other senses that never get reported on when we're just posting pictures:

  • The sound of wood thrushes calling to each other every time you walk through a forested grove amid the bogs;
  • The smell of the pine and spruce in those groves;
  • All-you-can-eat blueberries and serviceberries everywhere you turn;
  • The feeling of taking off your pack at the end of a hike, and soaking your feet in a cold stream.
Beyond the visual beauty, these are the reasons we keep going back. Especially the berries. We hit peak season just right this year.