As of this morning, we've raised 61 caterpillars to chrysalises with two more 5th instars ready to pupate and tagged and released 17 butterflies with two more to release later today, and 3 butterflies eclosed this morning to be released tomorrow. We may be able to top our last year's count of 76.
Fall migration of N.American Monarch butterflies have already started and the northern-most Monarchs are heading south. We only have about a month to go since I believe in NJ, the migration passes through around mid to late September with roosting sites being sighted around Cape May Point as late as the first few days of Oct.
This is the busiest time and I'm loving every minute of it!
We also released one Black Swallowtail butterfly with 4 more chrysalises to go... Oh! Correction, one eclosed this morning! Also another late 3rd instar caterpillar was found on the celery so we're raising it on carrot tops.
DD8 wants to see a hornworm change into a sphinx moth, but so far the ones I've found on the tomatoes in our garden have been infested by braconid wasps. She was disappointed, though not creeped out since she's already seen it a few times, to discover wasp larvae emerging from the caterpillar's back. The first 1/2 dozen or so turned into dozens and they pupated on it's back. BIL found another younger -- 3rd or 4th instar? -- hornworm while he was tending the grill yesterday while we were visiting so we've brought it home, and I found another 5th instar at home on the hot peppers. so we'll see how these will do, though the 5th instar is not eating well and I have my doubts.
In addition to the Monarch butterflies, our garden is being regularly visited by Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Red Admirals, Red Spotted Purples, Pearl Crescents, Silver Spotted skippers as well as smaller un ID'd skippers and hairstreaks. Rarer visitors are Fritillaries, Viceroys, and Common Buckeyes.