Return of the Monarchs

     Since the decline in the population of Monarch Butterflies over the past years it has been rare to see any individuals pass through the Rocklin CA region.  (Button bushes and purple thistle flowers growing in wetlands nearby used to attract a passing Monarch in the older days.  In recent past years one might catch a glimpse of an orange butterfly fluttering past only to realize upon closer inspection that it was not a Monarch but instead a Gulf Fritillary sp.)
This last week 8/11/16  I've spotted Monarchs in a few locations (or a Monarch --- but let us hope it is not the same single individual).  The photo on the left was taken besides the Sierra College Campus Nature Trail where this Monarch rested on a branch blending perfectly with the orange-brown of dried foliage in its surroundings.  This is also the first year I have noticed any Monarchs come to visit the several varieties of milkweed planted in our yard.  The video was taken of a flowering milkweed plant Asclepias curassavica (which also seems to be a popular nectar source among the smaller Gulf Fritillary Butterflies).

     Eight days later leafy plants turned into bear stalks as Monarch caterpillars grow to become the next generation.  Perhaps these guys will make the migration south as adult butterflies.....