Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Magical

Well, here at least is one piece of good timing.  I was about to post this and then saw Ann-Christine’s choice of subject for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge which is Magical. So this is my take on that topic.   I’ve lost count of the number of swallowtail butterflies that we’ve raised and released over the years but in all that time I’ve never yet found a monarch caterpillar until now. I spotted it a week or so ago on the orange butterfly weed in our garden and brought it inside so that I could observe the changes from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly, a process that is truly magical.

The other evening it looked as though it was about ready to make the first change and I sat and watched it for several hours but nothing happened. I got up early (for me) next morning and it was still hanging from the same stem, going through what looked like a few mild calisthenics and gyrations, sending little ripples of movement along the length of its body.

Again, I sat for several hours with camera at the ready as I wanted to record the moments when he finally shrugged and wriggled his way out of his brightly-striped skin. But I had to get up and move around eventually, and I thought I would just nip into the next room to check my emails. I swear I was gone for no more than ten minutes! And when I came hurrying back it was to find that the little stinker had done his magic and as I gazed at the chrysalis that now hung from the stem, I thought I could hear a faint raspberry being blown and a whispered, “Missed it! coming from inside.  Unbelievable!!

33 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Magical

  1. beautiful documenting – and oh my goodness was that fast going into the chrysalis —
    maybe they sensed you were gone and felt vulnerable and had to get it done fast (kidding)

  2. Oh noooooo Sue – I cannot believe the little devil took advantage of your moment of inattention! But your photos are amazing. The monarch is so gloriously beautiful don’t you think? We are on their migration route so we see them as they make their way along their journey. Fabulous creatures.

    • Thanks, Tina! I’m waiting to see if this one will put in a late appearance or wait until the spring to emerge. It’s amazing how they can sense the right time to change. We have rarely had a butterfly that has broken out when the weather has been too inhospitable.

  3. But your captures are fantastic anyway – it is so typical that they transform when you are not there…! The caterpillar is so beautiful as well, thank you for sharing this moment!

  4. A wonderful, magical transformation. I’m so glad you documented this. Isn’t it ironic that the magical moment to a chrysalis happened when you stepped away for a few minutes? Well, I’m sure you’ll try again. I admire your patience! Mother Nature takes her own time!

    • Yes! And it bamboozled me again this weekend as we were out of town and came home to find that the butterfly had already emerged. Luckily no damage as I’d left the chrysalis in a large container with a jam jar filled with its favorite flowers so I was able to release it right away.

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