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And the Chrysalis Became...

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

A small, unknown but very sweet and beautiful chrysalis found May 28, which oddly enough would have been my dear mother Ida's 100th birthday. How fitting, to find a little mystery on her birthday, something pregnant and wonderful. 

Mama had me when she was 38. That was considered impossibly old in 1958. I'm so very glad she did. Sigh! Thank you for this gift of life, Mom! I am enjoying it so much.

We wondered and wondered about this little capsule. What would it be? As naturalists do, I looked around to see what was abundant right now, what was hatching out, and I thought about it. I decided it might be a small wood satyr, based on who was bouncing along the woodland edges at the time. 

I purposely did not want to Google it, because I didn't want to spoil the surprise.

The chrysalis got darker and darker. That could mean it was getting ready to eclose, a nice word describing the moment a butterfly emerges. Or it could mean it had died. I decided it had to be the first choice. I kept sniffing it, in a Science Chimpy way, to make sure it was still with the living. Yep. 

If you click you might be able to see the threadlike segmented antennae running down from its squarish eye. The head got a lot more prominent in the last couple of days.
I've shoved its support stick into plasticene so it can't possibly tip over and squash itself, and also so it has room to hang from the chrysalis once it comes out.

I checked that little thing probably 20 times the morning of June 1. And then stuff kept happening and a couple of packages came with the mail and we got all excited about it, and I went to move the little critter keeper and saw A SMALL WOOD SATYR where there had once been a CHRYSALIS!!!

I just don't get a whole lot more excited than this. SO BEAUTIFUL!! Appearing like magic! When I wasn't looking, of course!

Its wings were wet and floppy when I found it. Oh, how I wished I'd seen it pumping them full of fluid! Oh well. I was thrilled beyond thrilled that it was alive and hatched out without a hitch.

After maybe three hours, it was ready to go, bouncing off the walls of its critter keeper. The kids and I carried it out to the orchard and Phoebe made this little video. Warning--there is high-pitched squeeing from me. I made the same sound when I caught my first northern pike.

Resting after its big morning, in perfect habitat, in the orchard I've been working so hard to clean up.

Speaking of hard work, the Living on Earth presentation went off without a hitch. I was dang proud to have been my own techie on it, too. Well, I had plenty of help from the LOE staff, who were WONDERFUL to work with. And interviewer Bobby Bascomb couldn't have been more sensitive, wide-ranging, or beautifully prepared in her questions. Wow. We had well in excess of 300 people watching the Zoom presentation, including many friends, family and Zickfans, and it was exciting for me to make my way through such tall corn, talking about blue jays, my favorite topic. Well, one of them.

My setup in the good Internet at the Bird Watcher's Digest office. I taped a bird-themed huipil from Guatemala over my head. The wee square hole is for a person's head--it's kind of like a poncho. I couldn't get my head through that hole to save my life, but I bought it for the fabric. 

If you'd like to listen to it (and you should, if you've never been to one of my talks but would like to), it's archived on the Facebook page of Living on Earth. Here's the link:

Be aware that the first several minutes are devoted to a holding screen, while we waited for everyone to arrive and get set up. So hit Play with the volume up and tune in when you hear voices. I hope you enjoy the presentation as much as we enjoyed creating it! 


I missed the blue jay talk, so I'm really glad it's recorded. Going to lie down and enjoy it now! Thank you!


Beautiful wood satyr, huipil, and you.

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Julie, your squeal reflects your joy at life of every sort! I am a JZ fan and a reader of JZ before that. I enjoyed the EOL broadcast immensely. You were entertaining and knowledgeable (and couldn't be flummoxed) and the moderator showed true interest in you and your subject and was sweet as pie. I was surprised at how much I learned in during that very pleasant hour. 🙂


Loved the butterfly and loved the squeal!

Love that butterfly and I totally understand getting excited about it!
Greetings from Sri Lanka!

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