Shades of sunshine…

Close up of late summer yellows that are so prevalent in the Midwest prairies. They are beginning to change from flower to seeds. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Reflections from rain drops on the petals. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

The open spaces between the tall thin stands of priaire yellows makes it seem that this small space is actually quite large. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Spying a Monarch butterfly is icing on the cake today; soon they will migrate South leaving stands of seedheads and golden grasses. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

A moment of calm…

Hiding amongst the Coneflowers (Echinacea) is the wondrous Monarch (Danaus plexippus) butterfly. Here one rests on the Conflower, but it’s preferred food is grasses while it lays eggs on the Milkweed plant. Monarchs in Chicago (and other northern places) and then travel over 3000 miles to Mexico for the winter. It will be a new generation that travels North next summer. CLICK the image above to track migration via “Journey North”. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Years of butterfly observation have taught me that Monarchs toward the end of their life fly slower and slower making them easy to catch by hand and hold for a short time before setting them free. They are fascinating to observe close up. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

After the monarchs…


Seeds bursting from pod with Milkweed Bugs. Copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg

Seeds bursting from pod with Milkweed Bugs. Copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg

Common Milkweed pod full of MIlkweed Bugs. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Common Milkweed pod full of MIlkweed Bugs. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Common Milkweed acting as host of Milkweed Bugs. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Common Milkweed acting as host of Milkweed Bugs. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Common Milkweed (asclepias syriaca) is the chosen food of Monarch butterflies. Eggs are laid on the plant and larva feast on the leaves. Much has been reported on the loss of habitat for Monarchs including this Milkweed, not to be confused with the orange blooming Butterfly Milkweed (asclepias tuberosa). Loss of habitat has led to dramatically reduced populations of these wonderful creatures.

This Common Milkweed plant attracted me with its delicate fluffy seeds that had recently burst out of several pods. They always remind me of one segment of the Disney movie, Fantasia. As I focused on the seeds, I noticed a few brightly colored Milkweed Bugs. Several moments later, I realized the “brown” pod above the seeds was actually a community of Milkweed Bugs on one pod. The Milkweed Butterfly has left this northern area and begun its 3000-mile migration to Mexico, while the Milkweed Bug enjoys the remaining spoils of this host plant.