Hard at work
It seems like every day now there is a female monarch in my garden, ovipositing on the milkweed. Some of them are very worn and others, like this one, look fairly fresh. But in all cases, this will be their final accomplishment - creating the next generation of monarchs. It is possible that this female is creating the migratory generation; or she may be creating one final breeding generation. It's always hard to know this time of year. If I had to guess, though, I'd say she's working on the generation that will make its way to Mexico to overwinter on the oyamel firs high in the mountains near Mexico City.
What you see here is her holding onto a leaf on a milkweed plant while she carefully curls her abdomen to deposit a single egg under the leaf. Before depositing her eggs, she will first "taste" the plant with her feet to make sure it is milkweed as that is the only thing her larva can feed on. I never tire of watching monarchs as they fly around tasting various plants to find the right ones. I have 5 types of milkweed this summer and she is able to detect each one with her sensitive feet - amazing.
Posting early today as my besties are due to arrive within the next couple of hours and I am planning to just relax and enjoy time with all of them.