I can't believe it - Monarch cats!!
Yesterday I was out in the "xeric garden", which is the front southwest corner of my lot next to the sidewalk. It is a hot, dry garden. I'm growing some Asclepias tuberosa, a few A. curasssavica seedlings, and there is some A. syriaca common milkweed that planted itself. Last year I registered as a Monarch waystation, purchased a sign, and installed the sign in this garden. That way, people can read the sign as they pass by on the sidewalk.
I was poking around the garden, and nearly fell over when I looked down and there was a 2nd instar Monarch cat on the tip of one of the common Milkweeds!! I collected the little guy, and searched the other milkweeds in the yard. Found a 2nd little 2nd instar cat on the wild milkweed in back.
I'm about 20 miles northwest of Boston. The earliest I have seen Monarchs here is mid-July. Last year they didn't show up until mid-August. Obviously a female came through the area in the last 7-14 days! If I'd had any idea, I would have looked for more eggs/cats much sooner. :)