Date: 9/24/18 1:28 pm From: Rick & Marianne Atkinson <marianne5...> Subject: RT Hummingbird & Monarch caterpillars - Clearfield County
When I was outside this morning, putting out my suet feeders, I heard a Ruby Throated Hummingbird chipping and then saw it as was working my flowers. This is very late in the year for hummers at my house. Another flower that they love is Lady in Red Salvia, which is an annual. This flower is a hummingbird magnet!
While outside, I then found 2 more Instar 4-5 Monarch caterpillars that were on my Hairy Balls plants, aka Balloon plant, aka Gomphocarpus physocarpus. These are fast growing annual milkweeds in PA. The caterpillars even like to eat the flower buds of these plants! Even though it is getting late in the growing season, the leaves on the balloon plant stay nice and tender, which makes great caterpillar food.
Many of my common milkweed plants have either lost all or most of their leaves, or the leaves that are left are not in very good condition. I have common milkweed plants that were mowed down the first week of june. They are in much better shape than the plants that were not mowed at all.
So far, I have released 107 Monarch butterflies, with many more on the way, that are either in caterpillar or chrysalis stage.