Please join us for a free live premiere of Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly at the Shalin Liu on Thursday, September 23rd, at 7pm. I hope to see you there! Masks are required to be worn at all times while in the hall. For more information go here. Presented by the Boston Film Festival and Rockport Music.
Orange Sulphur Butterfly on the Wing!
The vibrantly beautiful male Orange Sulphur Butterfly was spotted on our shoreline, flitting from flower to flower along a stand of Black Mustard. No other butterfly of New England flashes that beautiful shade of tangerine when in flight. The females are considerably paler with wings in shades ranging from white to buttery yellow.
The Orange Sulphur Butterfly is seen from coast to coast, from southern Canada to central Mexico. I most often observe them at the edge of marshes and in fields where clovers grow.
Male Orange Sulphur Butterfly
Orange Sulphurs drink nectar from many types of flowers including milkweeds, dandelions, asters, and goldenrods.
The caterpillars eat a wide variety of plants in the Legume Family, both native and introduced. Favorite host plants (caterpillar food plants) include Alfalfa (Medicago sativa), White Clover (Trifolium repens), and White Sweet Clover Melilotus alba).
Please join us for a free live premiere of Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly at the Shalin Liu on Thursday, September 23rd, at 7pm. I hope to see you there! Masks are required to be worn at all times while in the hall. For more information go here.
Unusual, but not unheard of, every year during the Monarch’s annual southward migration, I come across a pair, sometimes two, that are mating. This year was no exception. The butterflies apparently did not get the 411 that they are supposed to be migrating, not mating! The Monarchs that eclose (emerge from their chrysalides) at the end of the summer are the Methuselah Monarchs, or a super generation of Monarchs. These Super Monarchs eclose in a state of sexual immaturity, or diapause. Rather than expending energy looking for a mate and egg laying, they spend all their days drinking nectar and building their fat reserves for the long journey south. They are often a bit larger than their counterparts that emerge earlier in the summer and they are biologically oriented to fly southward. Methuselah Monarchs live about eight months, nearly eight times longer than the spring and early summer Monarchs. They are called Methuselah Monarchs after the Biblical patriarch who is said to have lived 969 years.
While joined together, abdomen to abdomen, the mating Monarchs flew into a neighboring tree.
Occasionally though individuals are reproductively active. I often wondered what happens to the Monarchs that mate in September. Do they lay eggs, will the eggs hatch, and will the caterpillars complete metamorphosis?
Female Monarch depositing eggs on Common Milkweed, September 13, 2021
The first question has been answered. A beautiful female, apparently newly emerged, with vibrant fully intact wings, arrived in our garden and laid dozens and dozens of eggs. I placed many, but not all, of the eggs in our terrariums. Will these eggs hatch? We’ll know within the next week or so. I’ll keep you posted on these late September babes. If they go through their entire life cycle, they won’t be ready to fly off for another five weeks or thereabouts. The butterflies most likely will not make it to Mexico, but may journey as far as Florida, where they will spend the cooler months.
An exciting and outstanding collection of films are showcasing at the Boston Film Festival beginning Wednesday, September 22nd. If you click on the link at the bottom of the post, it will take you to the schedule where you can read more about each film.
Boston Film Festival rolls out the red carpet for its 37th season with a colorful kaleidoscope of intriguing and entertaining features, documentaries and film shorts.
As the origin of many illustrious storytellers, Boston provides an idyllic setting to experience a festival of motion pictures. The City is resplendent with breathtaking historical architecture juxtapose to modern designs including the development of a new vibrant waterfront. Boston is a walkable city that has become a Mecca for film and tourism.
The Boston Film Festival takes place during the spectacular fall season when the city is bustling with the return of University students, and the Red Sox are battling for the pennant. A program of feature, documentary, short and animated films.
Thought provoking film premieres, panels with directors and actors, parties, celebrations, red carpet press events all create an exciting cinema experience.
Enhancing its growing legacy of showcasing inspiring and daring new films, the Boston Film Festival (September 22-26) unfurls its 37th edition with an accent on sports-themed movies along with the world premiere of the documentary “War on the Diamond” on opening night at the newly opened and expansive Omni Seaport Hotel. In addition, several films are either based in New England or have Boston roots on the creative team.
The inclusive live program spotlights the world premiere of the sports documentary “War on the Diamond” that recalls the only death of a Major League Baseball player as a result of playing the game when star Cleveland shortstop Ray Chapman was fatally beaned by New York Yankee pitcher Carl Mays in 1920. Emmy and Peabody Award winner Andy Billman (ESPN’s “30 for 30” shorts) is the director and a producer. A panel will follow the premiere moderated by noted sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy with Andy Billman, Hall of Fame sports broadcaster Leslie Visser and Sports Executive Dan Duquette. In addition, the inclusive program spotlights the sports documentary “The 5th Man” by famed director Trey Nelson (“Lost in the Sun”).
Other films with a New England connection are “Open Field,” a sports-themed documentary, is from Charlestown, MA native Kathy Kuras as well as the feature “The Secret of Sinchanee,” which was shot in Deerfield, MA, the documentary “I Come from Away,” which was filmed in Maine, and director Nora Jacobson “Ruth Stone’s Vast Library of the Female Mind” which shot in Vermont.
Additional documentaries to be featured are: “Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly” by director Kim Smith, which can be viewed at the Shalin Liu Theater, a state-of-the art performance center in Rockport, MA, and “Zero Gravity,” a science-based film from director Thomas Verrette “Phenoms”), which will be screened at MIT and will include a question-and-answer session with Verrette after the film. “The Final Nineteen” is an unblinking depiction of the final 19 prisoners of war (POWs) to return home from the Vietnam War by director Timothy Breitbach.
Many of the BFF films will be presented in a virtual format on the Eventive site beginning on September 23. Two short programs and an animation program are also available for virtual viewing. With safety at the forefront, all live activities of the Boston Film Festival (BFF) will be in alignment with current state and local COVID-19 health precautions. Masks are mandated for inside from Governor Baker, bring proof of vaccination. Two short programs and an animation program will be available for virtual viewing.
Please join us for a free live premiere of Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly at the Shalin Liu on Thursday, September 23rd, at 7pm. I hope to see you there! For more information go here.
The American Painted Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) is seen often drinking nectar alongside Monarchs during the late summer migration. She is one of four North American (of the 22 species found worldwide) Vanessa butterflies. The North American tribe also includes the Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), and the West Coast Lady (Vanessa anabella).
Some of the caterpillar’s favorite food plants are Sweet Everlasting (Graphalium obtusifolium), Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea), and Plantain-leaved Pussytoes (Antennaria plantaginifolia). The caterpillars also feed occasionally on Burdock (Arctium), Wormwood (Artemisia), and Ironweed (Vernonia)
Don’t you love these last days of summer, they are simply so atmospherically glowing! According to the calendar, September 22nd marks the official beginning of autumn but if this balmy weather continues we still have many days ahead of warm golden light to look forward to.
The Monarch’s are on the move with continuous reports from all around the region of great flyovers and stopovers at meadows and friend’s gardens. I thought I was done rearing butterflies but a beautiful Mama stopped in our garden on Monday where she deposited dozens and dozens of eggs. More about that when I have time to write the story about why this happens. My friend Lauren was getting milkweed for the last of her caterpillars. She found an egg on one of the milkweed plants and it hatched yesterday! These late hatching Monarchs most likely won’t make it to Mexico, but they may travel as far as Florida where they will spend the cooler months there.
Female Monarch in the garden depositing eggs on September 13, 2021. Note the two tiny pin-head sized eggs on the milkweed leaf.
I am very delighted and proud to announce that we have our first corporate contributor/underwriter, New England Biolabs, Inc. We are equally as proud to write that New England Biolabs is a certified B Corporation, which means that a Certified B Corporation, or B Corp as it is commonly referred to, is a for-profit company that meets the highest level of third-party verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. More about New England Biolabs and its founder, Donald G. Comb’s love of butterflies, in an upcoming post.
I have been working like crazy making posters and postcards for the upcoming screening, along with preparing images and artwork for American Public Television and PBS. It’s all pretty exciting, and also a bit nerve wracking, as this is the first time Beauty on the Wing will be appearing in front of a live audience on the big screen. We have printed a few extra posters. Any suggestions of where would be the best place to post, please write. Many thanks to Samantha at Seaside Graphicsfor her excellent advice in printing! The screening and Q and A are next Thursday, September 23rd, at 7pm.
I hope so much that all our friends who have supported Beauty so greatly, through interest and good will and/or contributions, will be able to attend. Please spread the word to your friends and family. The screening is early enough in the evening that I think school age kids can attend and will really enjoy. Please be assured that this is a masked event and proof of vaccination may be required.
That Beauty on the Wing is having its live premiere at the Sahlin Liu is a full circle moment. Jesse Cook, the artist whose transcendent music you hear in the documentary, played at the Shalin Liu several years ago, pre Covid. Link to the concert photos at the Shalin Liu “Follow the Road“
Please consider making a tax deductible donation, or becoming an underwriter, to bring our Monarch Butterfly documentary Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly to American Public Television. To Learn More go here and to DONATE go here. Thank you!
With deep appreciation and gratitude for generous contributions to the following butterfly friends –
Lauren Mercadante, New England Biolabs, Inc., Jonathan and Sally Golding, James Masciarelli, Pete and Bobbi Kovner, Joeann Hart and Gordon Baird, Karrie Klaus (Boston), Sally Jackson, Marion Frost (Ipswich), Heidi and John Shiver (Pennsylvania), Marty and Russ Coleman, Joy Van Buskirk (Florida), Lillian and Craig Olmstead, Suki and Fil Agusti (Rockport), Janis Bell, Nina Groppo, Nubar Alexanian, Marguerite Matera, Claudia Bermudez, Thomas Hauck, Judith Foley (Woburn), Jane Paznik-Bondarin (New York), Paul Vassallo (Beverly), Stella Martin, Liv Hauck (California), Julia Williams Robinson (Minnesota), Cynthia Dunn, Diane Gustin, John Ronan, Karen Maslow,Fernando Arriaga (Mexico City), Holly Nipperus (Arizona), Kristina Gale (California), Maggie Debbie, Kate and Peter Van Demark (Rockport), Mia Nehme (Beverly), Chicki Hollet, Alice Gardner (Beverly), Therese Desmarais (Rockport), Jennie Meyer, Kathy Gerdon Archer (Beverly), Melissa Weigand (Salem), Duncan Todd (Lexington), Catherine Ryan, Linda Bouchard (Danvers), Elaine Mosesian, Paul Wegzyn (Ipswich), Catherine Bayliss, Alessandra Borges (Rhode Island), Jan Waldman (Swampscott), Carolyn Constable (Pennsylvania), Nancy Mattern (New Mexico), Ian Gardiner, Judy Arisman, Tom Schaefer, Margaret Thompson, Edward DeJesus (Maryland), Kim Tieger (Manchester), Mary Weissblum, Susan Pollack
I hope you were able to get out and enjoy the glorious weather this past weekend! We dropped off our daughter Liv at Logan on Saturday. It was a dream having her home during this broken leg period and I am so grateful for her kind and loving care. We’ll all miss her terribly but her work and beautiful California call and we understand.
I graduated from the giant boot to the mini boot several weeks ago and am now doing well hopping around with only one crutch, which means, joyfully so, I can carry my cameras with my free arm! While out in marshes over the weekend I photographed a living tagged butterfly. I don’t usually see living tagged butterflies, only dead ones. Unfortunately, in the past, I have been in a field after a bunch of children ran unsupervised in catching and tagging butterflies, without proper training. Many were killed and/or mangled. Fortunately, male Monarch ACTU 676 appeared just fine and was flying well.
Only a small fraction of the butterflies tagged are actually recovered at their wintering grounds in the volcanic mountains of Mexico. Some are spotted near to where they were tagged, some along the migratory route, and the ones recovered and recorded in Mexico provide a meaningful connection between the tagger and the recoverer.
If you find a tagged Monarch, alive or dead, please go to the official online tagging form provided by Monarch Watch. You can find the 2020 -2021 form here and it looks like this screenshot –
As you can see, it’s a basic form and there is a link provided to add a photo. By submitting your sighting, you as a citizen scientist are participating in a long term study, first developed by Monarch Watch in 1992.
My husband and I are huge fans of Jesse Cook and with gorgeous music and extraordinary musicianship, his concerts are not to be missed. Tom introduced me to his work several years ago when I was looking for a uniquely beautiful sound to score a short film for the Berkshire Museum, about butterflies in flight, for which Jesse graciously and generously permitted. More about Jesse and Monarchs when my forthcoming documentary is released.
Jesse Cook travels the world with his fingers. Through his globe-spanning and genre-bending compositions, the nimble-fingered guitarist has taken nouveau flamenco to places it has never been, creating new fascinating hybrids. As one of the most celebrated instrumentalists on the planet, Cook is forever restless, constantly searching for new sounds, rhythms and textures to explore.
Born in Paris and raised in Toronto, Cook studied classical and jazz guitar, and as a child was always intrigued by the highly rhythmic rumba flamenco style. Following up on that curiosity, Cook dove headfirst into the gypsy musical tradition as he began to find his own musical voice. After a show-stopping performance at the 1995 Catalina Jazz Festival, Cook’s little-heard debut, Tempest, suddenly took off in the U.S., landing at # 14 on the Billboard Charts. Cook’s career has seen steady growth in the years that followed, his multi-cultural take on rumba flamenco striking a nerve with listeners. One of the hallmarks of his sound and aesthetic is to travel the world, meeting and collaborating with artists and incorporating the results into his music. In addition to headlining concerts and festivals, he has opened for such legends as B.B. King, Ray Charles, The Chieftains and Diana Krall.
In 1998, Cook was nominated for a Juno Award as Instrumental Artist of the Year. In 2001, he received a Juno Nomination for Best Male Artist, as well as winning in the Best Instrumental Album category for Free Fall. In 2009, he was Acoustic Guitar’s Player’s Choice Award silver winner in the Flamenco category. He is a three-time winner of the Canadian Smooth Jazz award for Guitarist of the Year and numerous other awards. Over twenty years into his career, Cook is now forging more than just musical traditions of the world. With his 2015’s One World, he is now forging the ancient with the modern, infusing contemporary sounds of the electronic digital age into his timeless rumba flamenco rhythms.
“…lightning fast and bright flamenco guitarist…Jesse Cook…is about as seductive, percussive and danceable as this kind of music gets…also a powerful pop songwriter, with each melody standing out above the weaving rhythms sung by his intoxicating strings.” Jazziz