Monarch sighting in Portland!!! Today there was a wild (I assume) Monarch visiting my milkweed plants. This marks the first time I've ever seen a Monarch West of the Cascades in Northern Oregon! I'm so excited! I just hope it's a female and that she stops long enough to lay plenty of eggs. The milkweeds are growing great this year, and there's plenty of food for caterpillars.
I'm finally getting around to sending out seed. My plants of A. speciosa managed to recover from "The Incident" well enough to flower and set seed.
It looks like I might get a chance to take a trip to the Siskiyous next summer. I haven't been down there since the biscuit fire; I hope the A. solonoana is still there. Should get some good photos of Monarch larvae, anyway.
Took a trip to the gorge this week; visited the populations of A. speciosa and A. fascicularis between Mosier and Celilo. The Celilo population (1.5 miles East of I-84 on Hwy 206) was finished blooming. There were not a lot of pods, but there were large numbers of Blue Milkweed Beetles (Chrysochus colbaltinus) and Longhorned Milkweed Beetles. The population of A. speciosa near Mosier (East of Mosier on Hwy 30) was in full bloom (slightly over the hill), and the populations of A. fascicularis (about a mile further East) were just coming into full bloom. Also blooming were Pale Evening Primrose (Oenothera pallida) and Common Sunflower (Helianthus annuus). See the Photo Gallery for images from the trip.
Well. My plants of A. speciosa and an East coast species were finally looking great, loaded with flower buds, and I was hoping for a good seed harvest. Then I came home yesterday to find that my mother-in-law had "helped" me by "weeding" my milkweed patch (despite repeatedly being told not to touch it). Seven years of patiently nurturing the plants down the drain. Oh well, I plan to take a few trips up the Gorge this Summer and Fall, maybe I'll get some seed to replace the plants.
Just got the photos back from our trip to Yale, Oklahoma in September. It had not rained for 2 months (with temperatures in the 90's), but the milkweeds were still blooming and producing pods. We saw a few Monarch caterpillars along with milkweed bugs and longhorned milkweed beetles. Along with the copius ragweed and sandburs, I was able to identify 3 species of milkweed, along with 2 species of passionflowers and an unidentified Greenbrier (Smilax sp.). The Monarch migration was in full swing, the oak trees thick with butterflies around dusk. Also saw a variety of other butterflies, including my first Pipevine Swallowtail; what a stunning sight! See the Photo Gallery for images from the trip.