Monarch Butterfly

While passing through a creek bottom that is mostly dry this time of year, I spotted a monarch butterfly and got out of my truck to photograph it. It fluttered about and eventually I lost track of it – no photo.

Distracted by a California ground squirrel that fed at my feet, I photographed what was available – the squirrel.

While returning to the truck, the monarch appeared again and I followed it until it landed on a plant – apparently the same species of plant that it had lit on before. I snapped a few quick photos before the butterfly disappeared again. I theorized that the plant was a milkweed.

When I returned home I looked up the plant. Sure enough it is called “narrow leaf milkweed.” According to an internet source, there are fourteen species of milkweed in California.

Later I found out that the narrow-leaf milkweed is also called whorled leaf milkweed and they are a host plant for monarch butterfly larvae.

Click on photos to enlarge.

monarch DSC_0103

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Nature Quiz

Took a little trip to the ranch this week and came home with photos of a few early spring wildflowers. They’re not your run of the mill favorites and I didn’t know for sure the names of any of them. Nor did I know the name of the only butterfly species I found.

Therefore you can take the quiz and don’t feel bad if you can’t name these. The plants were all less than a foot tall and the flowers all less then the diameter of a nickel.

Here you go. As I figure them out I’ll post them. You can also comment with your answers if you like. Maybe it will help my research.

1. another-white-wildflower

2. chaparal-butterfly-3-2009

3. prominent-white-flower

4. purple-and-yellow-wildflower-3-2009

5. purple-flower-3-2009

Ok. There you go. Of course I have the advantage because I saw them in person. I’ll be refering to the guide books and also my biologist friend, but my brother may already know them all as he’s on top of this stuff.