a few weeks ago i started seeing some caterpillars on the stinging nettle.
staal's had an interest in butterflies since his youth and knows quite a bit about the butterflies in california. he's taught me the names of the butterflies that visit our gardens.
identifying caterpillars is sometimes a bit trickier since the butterflies tend to get most of the glory, so we weren't sure who the fat little guys munching the nettle would turn out to be.
when i stopped seeing caterpillars i started looking for chrysalises. not an easy thing to find. i spotted one by chance when i was weeding one day.
i collected the chrysalis and put it in a mason jar so we could see who would emerge---that was about a week-and-a-half ago or so. i was hoping to see the butterfly as it emerged but the sneaky little guy did it while we were sleeping---found him this morning.
|newly emerged Vanessa atalanta the red admiral|
i took the jar out to the garden and took the lid off. he hung out in the garden for a while---probably resting---i'd imagine it's hard work turning from caterpillar into butterfly and then fighting one's way out of a chrysalis. i was lucky he was tired though, allowed me to get within a few inches of him with the camera and get some decent shots.
i had to wait a while before he'd open his wings for me...
but it was worth the wait.