Monarch migration coincides here with the bloom of the male groundsel plant. The female plants are also blooming, and in a few weeks, they’ll send their wispy seeds aloft to release a sort of lowcountry snow. Usually in the last week of October, the monarchs gather to nectar on these bushes.
It’s hard to see evidence of migration, because they seem to be flittering north and south, east and west, with a joyful lack of purpose. Once they land, though, you can see them concentrating on the task at hand.
Not all the butterflies we see are monarchs: other migratory butterflies include the Common Buckeye: with rows of large spots on their wings.
Gulf fritillaries are the mostly orange butterflies with a different pattern on the underside: they are one of our most common butterflies all summer. The caterpillars hatch and feed on the passionflower (maypop) around the island.
And along with the fritillary in this photo is a Painted Lady. All of these may also migrate southward in the fall.
Sometimes video can be a better way to show the incredible number and variety of butterflies:
Elsewhere on the island, Cloudless Sulfurs can be seen all over the island~ they’re the big yellow ones. The tiny yellow ones are (imaginatively,) little yellow’s.