Nature Friday ~ July 14, 2023

ElsaWelcome to Nature Friday, hosted by our pals Rosy and Sunny from Adventures of the LLB Gang. Elsa here bringing this week’s edition to your inboxes. Imma here to also tell you it’s {in the words of my brother} bloody hot. Good grief…who turned up the thermostat? I almost feel badly for Mom since she’s been walking me just after sunrise which means neither of us are getting our beauty sleep. Trust me, she needs it more than I do but still…I wouldn’t be adverse to sleeping in until 6:30 or so. C’est la vie…such is the life of a black dog.

So this week I thought we’d check out pollinators from around the 303. Mostly Monarch Butterflies that is, though Mom got to see other kinds of butterflies at the Chatfield location of the Denver Botanical Gardens for their annual Lavender Festival. This iconic butterfly has an amazing journey, migrating between 1,200 and 2,800 miles from the northeast US and southeast Canadian mountain forests. Monarch butterflies, Danaus plexippus, which means “sleepy transformation” in Greek because of the species’ ability to hibernate and metamorphize. Adult monarchs have two pairs of brilliant orange-red wings, with black veining and white spots along the edges. Male butterflies are slightly bigger than the females. Did you realize these amazing pollinators only live about four to five weeks! Guess they have a lot to do in their short lives.  Here are some of the butterflies Mom saw at the butterfly house at Chatfield.

Butterfly educational board

As you probably already know, milkweed is the only plant on which monarchs will lay their eggs and their favorite source of food for emerging caterpillars. Sadly far too much of the Monarch’s natural food source is being eradicated from urban and agricultural landscapes.

Every wonder what the life cycle of a butterfly looks like? This sign depicts it far better than I can explain it.

Butterfly sign

Mom saw some new emerging Chrysalis, but they were so miniscule, she couldn’t get a photo without them looking too blurry on her phone. How many times do I need to tell you to bring a decent camera with you, Mom?? Ugh, when will she ever learn or pay attention to me? Anyway, she did manage to capture a caterpillar munching on a stalk of milkweed. Kinda cool for a bug. They have voracious appetites and that 18 inch tall stalk will likely be gone in less than a couple of days.

Caterpillar In the butterfly house, they flit among colorful plants, feeders and visitors. I think this guy was giving my Mom the stink eye.

Hey, what are you looking at, lady?

Here’s one resting on a bright green leaf. He seemed a bit tired, but I think he was probably just suffering from heat exhaustion like the rest of us.


Mom watched the guys below at a feeder. The big one seemed to hog the nectar away from the others and the two other couldn’t seem to convince the hog to move over. Who knew butterflies don’t share much?

Yo Frank, Joe is hogging the nectar again-why don’t you dive bomb him so we can enjoy Happy Hour as well.

There were a bunch of those Red Admirals that followed Mom around in the butterfly house. This one seemed particularly interested in her despite the fact she wasn’t wearing a colorful shirt. If she had, it might have landed on her. Though the Door Attendant would have frisked her when she left so no butterflies escaped. Seems the butterflies are always trying to hitchhike their way outside the butterfly house. Sheesh, conjugal visits apparently aren’t enough for those guys-they’re looking for freedom as well.


They may be small but they sure are pretty. As Mom was leaving the exhibit, look what other cutie she found! Oooh, hello, little bunny. Why can’t I ever find a cute bunny to play with on our walks? Oh wait, they’re afraid of a menacing hunter like me. Oops.


Well that’s it for me this week. We hope whatever you do this weekend, you are able to enjoy some of the more gentle aspects of what Nature is dishing out. For you folks in New England, we’re praying the predicted rains aren’t as severe as they have been and for our friends in West, we hope Mother Nature turns down the pizza oven temps. Looks like El Niño is back with a vengeance according to NOAA (National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration). Please stay cool, dry and hydrate yourselves.

El Niño

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday

39 thoughts on “Nature Friday ~ July 14, 2023

  1. Chaplin: “Ooh, a butterfly hunt! Can cats participate? Do we have to bring the butterflies in, or can we eat them as soon as we catch them?”
    Lulu: “You might not like the way butterflies taste, Chaplin.”
    Chaplin: “Don’t be so sure. I eat cobwebs, you know.”

    1. Cobwebs–eek!?!? Oh my, you may want to amp up your palate if you’re eating cobwebs.

  2. I love your shades. I hate the look of milkweed, but I leave them because we do get monarchs. Beautiful photos. XO

    1. Thanks. Yeah I’d always thought of milkweed as a weed until I started reading up on the monarch crisis.

  3. I never knew monarchs had polka dot bodies. Or that they only fed on milkweed. We had more milkweed up in PA where I grew up, so bet there were lots more of those butterflies there.
    On the heat front, I heard yesterday about how hot the water off the FL coasts is and how it’s affecting the coral reefs. I never realized coral is an animal!

    1. Monarchs are pretty fascinating from their appearance to the long journeys they make when they migrate. Our poor earth is broiling across the board and all sea creatures are in peril. In fact, I heard it was well over 100ºF (over 40C) in several European countries this week. And air conditioning is not very common. Can’t even begin to fathom what’s happening.

  4. We’ve noticed more butterflies this year than we’ve seen for a very long time – AND the plant nurseries have LOTS of “baby” milkweed plants for sale which is something new so we’re on a big push to attract more. Nice to see some effort being made. I absolutely LOVE seeing butterflies – I like to pretend they’re angels coming for a little visit. Who knows – maybe they are??!!

    Hugs, Pam (and Teddy)

  5. Great Post. Elsa.. Not sure if I can get Milkweed plants here in South Australia, but I will try and find out and if I can I will. As far as I can make out, Australia is transiting in to an El Nino period. Currently 13c and cold with it..

    1. Thanks, John. I think milkweed can be ground in Australia. Here’s an article I found that might help you out. It’s good to provide a good habit for pollinators.

      It seems like El Niño is a world wide weather forecast. Sadly that means our world is warming up more. You may be able to find sees but I’m not 100% positive.

  6. Yes, the thermostat is turned up high! Fall is on the horizon. 🙂
    Butterflies are so lovely and amazing. Great close up photos! Happy Weekend! Don’t melt!

    1. Thanks, we’re spending lots of time inside. It’s just too hot to be outside with a black fur coat!

    2. That horizon seems far away by our standards. Let’s hope it starts to moderate soon.

    1. I think he’s just grateful to be able to nosh on nearby greens. He sure was a cute baby. Hope you guys are staying as cool as possible. Can’t fathom Arizona temps in summer.

  7. So sorry you are dressed in black Elsa. Your Mom is willing to put off beauty sleep to keep you healthy. (I know you know that) Love the butterflies. Thanks for taking us on a tour there. We are in the 100s for the next week and maybe further. Hope you can stay cool.

    1. Yeah, having a black fur coat may look luxurious but in the sunshine, it’s a definitely no-no. Glad you enjoyed the butterflies. We’ve been following the temps down your way since Mom has family there. Good lord, don’t know how you guys can stand it. I’m melt for sure. Hot temps here through next week too because apparently, misery loves company.

            1. Trust me, it’s not much of a bargain but I know it’s worse down your way. Hoping the heat cycle breaks soon. Not sure I can make it for another 70 days!

  8. BUTTERFLIESS!!!!!! Mee lovess to watch Butterfliess Elsa! They are so purrty!
    Wee have Cabbage oness an sum Monarchss an Mournin Cloakss! An wee have teeny tan colored Butterfliess…they are cute….wee due not know what kind they are.
    An that iss oen cute Bunny!!!
    Our Bunny furamillee WAS upfront fore a few dayss butt Mindy an Bindy moved THE Kittss to backyard far away from THE “Idiotss” that live heer 😉
    You did a pawsum Furiday Nature Reeport…..wee hope Mother Nature ternss off THE Pizza Oven two! BLEH!
    ***nose bopss*** BellaDharma an (((huggiess))) BellaSita Mum

    1. Thanks, BellaDharma and BellaSita Mum. Butterflies are fun and fascinating to watch. Plus they’re so important to the entire ecosystem.

  9. The photos were mahvalous, dahling! Thanks for sharing! They inspire me to go down to the Chatfield Botanic Gardens. I haven’t been in ages.

    Elsa, if you ever come over to walk with Zoe and Tegan, they will show you all the great places to chase bunnies.

    1. Thanks Miss Amy. Ooh, bunnies…well count me in! I see them in our ‘Hood and they run away from me. Boo-hoo. And here I thought they’d be as friendly as they look.

      Mom wanted to avoid the crowds for the lavender festival scheduled for this weekend. Mom says she’s never gonna do the crowds again for the festival, instead she’s going a couple days ahead. It’s so much more enjoyable. She doesn’t need to see all the vendors and just wants to concentrate on the flowers, without getting photo bombed. 😉

    1. Mom just took pics (and not great ones I might add). But thanks for swinging by. We always love it when you guys drop by. Have a great weekend.

  10. Wow, that’s dedication! Those little eggs are super tiny. Mom has been nurturing some milkweed in the alley by the trash bins-the Swallowtails seem to love it as well.

  11. A friend of mine has lots of milkweed growing and in July, the butterfly migration time here, she takes the little eggs on the milkweed and puts them in a netted protective enclosure until they are adult and fly away. It’s fascinating to watch.

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