The mist and rain are frequent. It can't rain any harder, and then it does. The sun sets slowly through clouds. The yellowthroats notice the day is sliding into night. Their fight over the maple thicket and the willow thicket will have to end. Trills and calls. I move closer to the three, sometimes seems like four, birds. I've never noticed before how tiny they are. Never noticed how rich their song is, how furious their rattle.
They fly to the maples to the willow to the maples to the willow to the maples. Watching these three males dispute territory was not my intent. Cool air and checking on the checkerspot caterpillars was. Crouching, my legs are getting sore, shoulders bitten by insects. Daylight is fading. I won't make my bed in a willow thicket tonight, so I move on.
One checkerspot caterpillar. One checkerspot chrysalis on June 10. I first found the caterpillars on May 17. It's a tough neighborhood with energetic yellow throats and hungry baby phoebes, cardinals, titmice, Carolina and house wrens.
I train my eyes for white things as I look over the turtleheads. The search is lazy and timid. I don't want to destroy a chrysalis. I truly hope to see the butterfly emerge. I wonder how many orange butterflies I have called "monarch" have been another species.
No other chrysalises turn up. The light is fading quickly, turning blue, the color white is emerging from the green.