Sunday morning I could tell we had a monarch that was about to emerge. Instead of a jade pupa, I could see the black and orange pattern on the wings through the clear case. But there was no sign of anything happening yet, so I went off with my camera in search of other sights.
When I came back, camera in hand, I naturally checked to see how the butterfly was doing. The case was just splitting open, and in the next 90 seconds, the butterfly made its way out and hung on to the old case. For a few minutes, it looked like a pregnant lady in a short cloak. Gradually the wings extended to their full length. I watched for a half hour or so while the butterfly rested, got its mouth in working order and slightly opened its wings every so often.
It wasn't quite ready to fly by the time I needed to leave for church, so I put the container and butterfly out on the lawn. By the time we were home again, it was gone. Maybe we'll finally see one in flight in about ten days, when the eleven others are due to emerge.
(If you're interested in a really thorough description of this whole process -- and a tip on how to tell which gender the butterfly is while it is still in the chrysalis -- check monarchchaser.wordpress.com.)
Nearly ready to fly. The reddish drop at the bottom is meconium, the waste material from its time in chrysalis. I didn't know about identifying the gender in the pupa, and I didn't get to see this one with its wings fully extended, but I think that it may have the tell-tale spot on the wing that indicates a male. Either that, or there's a bit of smudge just there!
My approach to contemplative photography --
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"