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Monarch of the Meadow

Increased monarch butterfly activity is a sign of fall at Mass Audubon’s Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary.

This thoughtfully placed bench at Mass Audubon’s Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary is a perfect place to sit and contemplate monarch butterflies.
The North and South Meadows are ablaze with goldenrod in the late summer. Goldenrod is an important food source for monarchs.
The majestic monarch has a wingspan of three to four inches.
In addition to goldenrod, adult monarchs feed on a wide variety of nectar bearing flowers in preparation for their migration to Mexico.
With their striking orange and black coloring, monarchs are one of the most easily recognized butterflies in North America.
The goldenrod this monarch is feeding on does not cause allergies in humans. Ragweed, which blooms at the same time, is the allergy culprit.

About the author jmankowsky

This photo blog features the seasonal changes in nature observed in my own backyard and a variety of local environments. The Wachusett Meadow Audubon Sanctuary in Princeton, MA is often highlighted as a model for the positive effects a small nature preserve can have on the larger environment and the local community. Local sites of historical, cultural and recreational interest are spotlighted as well. All photographs were taken by me. Thank you so much for visiting.

All posts by jmankowsky →

22 Comments

  1. Beautiful, I love Monarchs and I love Golden Rod!

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    1. Yes, they are so uplifting! Thanks for visiting!

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  2. Lovely lovely photos and post! Do you know how to tell the male from the female Monarchs? If not I can send q link from Kim Smith Films blog. Best, Babsje

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    1. Thanks, Babsje. It’s difficult to tell from most of my photos, because the wings aren’t open, but the veins are thicker, so I’m thinking they are females. Just wasn’t sure…
      Thanks for the link to the Kim Smith site, it’s fabulous and a subject close to my heart. I have started following it.
      For most of my many years teaching first grade, my students and I watched monarchs hatch in our classroom, then took them out to the organic garden and waved to them as we sent them on their way to Mexico. During the years when monarchs were scarce, we wrote letters to the Massachusetts wildlife authorities, asking them to plant more milkweed. Although they didn’t respond, we did get more milkweed planted around the school, at least.
      Great Blues and Monarchs forever!
      Best,
      Julie

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      1. How wonderful! That’s great teaching! ❤ 😊

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  3. Your photos are wonderful, Julie. So full of detail and color. I have seen a few monarchs this summer, but haven’t had much luck getting a photo, will have to keep trying. Happy Monarch season!
    Tanja

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    1. Ah, there’s nothing like monarch/ fall flower and veg/ and geese season. I am a cool weather fall gal for sure. (Now, if only the weather would be cooler.)
      😉

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      1. Nature’s cycles are reassuring, even if we have managed to mess them up. I second your wish for cooler temps!

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  4. Such exquisite creatures.! How wonderful that you live next to a sanctuary that has so many of those fluttering beauties.

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    1. Beautiful monarch with perfect background!

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    2. I like to watch the whole monarch metamorphosis in the fall. Hiking through the fields of milkweed, it’s easy to see the caterpillars and cocoons.

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  5. It will take a concerted effort to protect them — they are losing so much habitat!

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  6. Beautiful – the meadows of flowering golden rod provide the perfect foil (and food evidently) for the monarchs!

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    1. Indeed they do. Monarchs are a favorite part of my late summer. They are the biggest and brightest butterflies we have around here!

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  7. Such a beautiful butterfly!!

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    1. Their patterning is so striking. There size makes them stand out, as well.

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  8. Beautiful photos – love the monarchs!

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    1. Monarchs are my favorite butterfly!

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  9. Beautiful! I love monarchs and have planted a bunch of milkweed to try and attract more of them to my yard.

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    1. They seem to head right for the butterfly bushes in my yard, as well.😁😁

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