From all the time I have spent stomping along the river or over the prairie (20 years) this is the first Monarch caterpillar I have found.  Plenty of other caterpillars but not a Monarch.  I found it in my front yard when I went to pull a Showy Milkweed from the hedge.  Not to abandon the rarity , I took it to my backyard and placed the caterpillar on another Showy Milkweed in my weed garden.  That was August 30.

I checked on it daily and by September 2 the caterpillar had disappeared and the chrysalis below was all that remained.

On September 6 it looked like this.

By September 19 it looked like this, wings visible on the right side.

I decided to come back in an hour of so and take another picture.  When I returned it looked like the chrysalis below.

I looked around and found the freshly-colored “baby” Monarch but it took off before I could get my camera ready.  It headed straight up on it maiden voyage and then turned South.  Given the time of year and that it was probably a fourth generation, it’s a reasonable guess that it was heading toward Mexico for its Winter Over.  The photo below is of a Monarch that didn’t escape me.

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