Monday, August 3, 2009


Monday May 31, 2010
Spent the day planting Foxglove, Millet grass, and 9 Butterfly Weed plants. Still haven't seen a Monarch butterfly yet this year! However, I've collected eggs from a site I monitor for the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (MLMP) and have collected 19 eggs since mid-May. Still, no monarch eggs laid as yet in 50 Swamp and Common Milkweed plants in my yard. My notes from last year recorded plenty of eggs from my Waystation (yard) and the Milkweed patches I check around Fremont, Ohio, here in NW Ohio.
Goldfinch galore come to the thistle feeder hung amonst climbing Wisteria

Saw no Monarch so far this year. Checked Wolf Creek site and checked 40 Common MW plants- 1 cat ¾ inches but it dropped to ground off leaf, 0 eggs; accidentally crushed one 1” cat; tally- 0 eggs, 3 hatchlings and 9 cats; checked Depot Grill Common MW site, inspected 20 MW’s and 0 eggs and 0 cats. Bought 9 Butterfly Weed!!!
Eggs= 0
Hatchlings= 2
Cats= 9
Release Potential= 9

Beebalm patch in side yard

Patch of Foxgloves in front tree lawn

Millet grass to plant around water garden

10 Butterfly Weed plants to plant for Monarchs

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Hiked through Wolf Creek Park in Sandusky Co., Ohio. Saw two Monarch butterflies in good condition in the Wolf Creek meadow, gorging on the nectar plants. New England Astor, Golden Rod, Primrose, Queen Anne's Lace, purple colored Thistle, Wild Grape vines, Common Milkweed, Sumac, Yarrow and Ironweed dominated the flora. The Monarch seemed to enjoy the Thistle best (left photo).

Silver spotted Skippers (below right), Cabbage (below middle), and Yellow sulphur (below left) butterflies were prevelant in the meadow as well.
I'm hoping to see more Monarchs migrate through the Wolf Creek Park meadow on their southern journey to Mexico. Collected a dozen Swamp Milkweed seed pods off the Waystation No. 613 plants and put them in ziplock sandwich bags. Will mail them out to those asking for them (See Saturday September 5 notes below). Plan to visit the Wolf Creek Park meadow at the same time to determine the upswing of Monarchs migrating through. Not real scientific, but better than haphazard watching.

Saturday September 5, 2009
I saw a total of only 25 Monarchs in my yard this year. I carted my last 33 chrysalis' down to Columbus, Ohio to visit a friend. I left them there, figuring they'd have 110 miles less to fly to Mexico. I'm offering my overabundance of Swamp Milkweed seeds to those who want it. So far, I'll be mailing Swamp MW packets to two people:

(1) Ina Warren of North Carolina- "I always enjoy reading about your waystation activities...
You shared seed with me last year, and I in turn shared it at the dozen or so formal programs I gave to environmental/stewardship groups. I would love any/all of the seed that you don't otherwise need and am glad to swap it with some of the A. exaltata that I have (Poke Milkweed).
Also glad to pay postage on your mailing it to me. Thanks for your kindness and willingness to share this "gift of life" for the monarchs..."
Ina Warren.

(2) Cindy Schmid of Journey North- "Hi Robert, I would love some swamp milkweed seeds for my Waystation 95 in Grant, Minnesota. I have over an acre of land to plant it on!
Cindy@Journey North

I'm always glad to help out because these individuals will put the seeds to good use teaching to wonders of Monarchs to others! Here's some Swamp MW from my side yard (below photo). Well, back to the yard. I've got Swamp MW seeds to collect and MW plants to trim down.

Fremonters help rescue Monarch butterfly from extinction
I walked into Fremont City Hall in Fremont, Ohio and talked to Ken Myers, the Safety Service Director. Mr. Myers listened intently as I expressed my concern about the city’s mowing of an area that is beneficial for Monarch butterflies. Thinking of all the city problems that he, Mayor Overmyer, and the city council face, I didn’t think he would be interested in preserving a section of Fremont for Monarch butterflies. I was wrong.

Ken Myers remembered, as a youngster, the vast numbers of Monarchs which passed through Ohio every year. Now, these fragile butterflies, which migrate over 2,800 miles to Mexico each fall, are endangered by roadside mowing and spraying, genetically modified crops, and urban sprawl. I described the place to Mr. Myers, a meadow south of the east end of Hayes Street bridge, just past the Sandusky River embankment. It frustrated me because hundreds of Monarch eggs and caterpillars are destroyed each time the city mows there. Several hundred milkweed plants grow in the area and the females lay their eggs upon it because it’s the only plant the caterpillars feed upon.

Mr. Myers met me at the site with the supervisors of the Fremont Parks and Street Departments. The 8,000 sq. foot area had been mowed, but new milkweed shoots were sprouting. As if on cue, a beautiful orange and black female Monarch butterfly appeared and glided to a milkweed shoot in
front of us. She gently deposited one of her 300 eggs underneath a leaf and then floated in the breeze to the next one. While we looked on, she visited dozens of Milkweeds. Ken Myers and the supervisors were apparently impressed! They agreed that the area was not to be mowed or sprayed with herbicides and that the city applies for a Monarch Waystation certificate. The City of Fremont received an approved certificate No. 829 and is included in the International Monarch Waystation Registry. (Left photo)

Then, there’s Hayley Wilson, age 5 (Below photo), who will start first grade this fall at Sacred Heart Elementary School in Fremont, Ohio. Her parents, Ed and Sherry Wilson, co-owners of Fremont’s Depot Pizza & Tavern, said that Hayley grew fascinated with Monarch butterflies when she raised one from an egg several years ago. So far this year, Hayley has raised and released 9 Monarchs and still has one chrysalis and 16 caterpillars.

There’s also Sue Strohl, who works in Fremont Memorial Hospital’s surgery department. She plants milkweed in her yard to attract Monarchs, then collects the eggs, raises and releases them.

Each fall, hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies migrate from the United States and Canada to over-wintering areas in Mexico where they wait out the winter until conditions favor a return flight in the spring. The monarch migration is truly one of the world's greatest natural wonders and it’s nice to know that the City of Fremont, Hayley Wilson and Sue Strohl are contributing to Monarch conservation and helping to assure their preservation and the continuation of the spectacular Monarch migration phenomena.

Searched our side yard at Monarch Waystation No. 613. I collected 13 Monarch eggs off the Swamp Milkweed (Photo below), none off the Common Milkweed. Also collected 5 parisitized Monarch eggs, where the transparent egg shell was intact, but the innards eaten out. A small slit showed where the parisite invaded. This morning 4 eggs hatched in my "incubator" (plastic aquarium), and 4 eggs hatched into caterpillar "hatchlings" this afternoon. Here's a tally of observations I made so far this year:

Total Monarch seen everywhere= 15
(Not many!)
Total eggs collected = 102
Current eggs in "incubator" aquarium = 56
Total eggs hatched = 33
Current hatchlings(caterpillars in 1st. instar) = 27
Total caterpillars (hatchlings + cats past 1st. instar)= 39
Current cats = 12
Total Fatalities= 27
(Most have been parisite that leaves shell intact but sucks out contents)
Total chrysalis’ = 8
Current chrysalis’= 7
Total Monarchs released = 1 M= 0 F= 0 DK = 1
Projected Monarch release (hatchlings + cats + chrysalis') = 46

The Swamp Milkweed planted at Waystation No. 613 has a beautiful flower and its fragrance is like a Lilac on steroids! It makes a nice, attractive flower to have in your yard. Hopefully, garden centers will begin growing and selling these aromatic plants on a large scale. What a boost to the Monarch butterfly that would be.