All summer the big yellow swallowtail butterflies were hanging out at my butterfly bush. They paid no attention to me getting close and personal with the camera. I got a lot of good shots.
But there were no monarchs. Their numbers dwindle every year, but I hope the new programs to plant milkweed and other attractive plants across the country will enable them to survive the seasonal migrations to/from Mexico.
About three weeks ago my husband thought he saw a monarch at the butterfly bush. I figured he was wrong. It was some other orange flying thing. Then I saw it, too. So, for the last three weeks, when these guys should be enroute to the highlands of Mexico, they have been hanging out in my yard. At least one monarch is hanging out in my yard. I haven’t seen two at once, so I can’t be sure.
Other critters love these purple blooms, too. The bumble bees are moving slowly. They pay no attention to me now. Only the queens will live through the winter. The others are on their last legs. They will die at the end of the season.
Yellow jackets cannot tolerate the winter cold and most die by late autumn, but a few survive by finding a warm place to hibernate — wood piles, tree cavities, hollow logs, and sometimes attics. This bee was still very active yesterday, enjoying the chrysanthemums.