Monarchs Over Fields of Gold

In recent days the life cycle of monarch butterflies has unfolded before my eyes. My post on late summer white-tails will have to wait.

Monarch caterpillars are feasting on the leaves of milkweed, with several sizes or instars visible. This one is actually on a milkweed pod, in search of a fresh leaf to chew on.


After feeding, growing and molting for about 2 weeks, the mature caterpillars pupate. This chrysalis was discovered in a large patch of milkweed plants at the edge of a field.


The pupal stage may last another 2 weeks, but it’s worth the wait. The emergence of the last generation of monarchs in late summer is a defining moment. Their field trip to wintering grounds in Mexico is a miracle.

Monarchs fluttering over fields of goldenrods bring fitting closure to the wildflower season and offer a heart-warming prelude to autumn colors on the horizon.




Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

9 thoughts on “Monarchs Over Fields of Gold

    • Many thanks Hien. My pleasure. Love chasing these guys around, hoping for a peek at their life story. The asters are blooming now and it seems monarchs prefer them over goldenrods…I think a couple more images are in order!

  1. Can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoy your nature lessons, not to mention your great photo skills!

    Just wondering if you’ve ever encountered a book by Jane Claire Dirks-Edmunds -“Not Just Trees”. I’m finding this account of early ecology efforts in a Doug-fir forest fascinating.

    • Your comments are uplifting and motivational. Many thanks Gunta! Not familiar with the book but it sounds like a good read; will put it on my list. I’ve been a student of forest ecology/history for a long long time, but my interests have centered on the Northeast. Must expand my horizons. 🙂

  2. Hi Nick! I’m hoping to do a post on “green” soon and wondered if you’d kindly allow me to use the beautiful green chrysalis photo with my usual credit and links back. Pls let me know! Thanks, Liz

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