I’m not really a big fan of Elmo, but I am a big fan of monarch butterflies. They’ve always been my favorites.
After I bought my house two years ago, I decided to plant milkweed in order to lure monarchs to my backyard. Ironically, the milkweed that has done best in my yard is the milkweed that I didn’t actually plant myself. Nevertheless, it WORKED! I’ve had monarchs in my yard from time to time all summer long, and some of them even laid eggs on my milkweed! 🙂
This afternoon I went to a monarch tagging event at Good Earth State Park. It was very educational but sort of a disappointment on the tagging front; they only had four butterflies to release, so the people who got to tag them were chosen by lottery. Still, we all got to go outside and watch as they were released into the wild, which was an inspirational experience.
I also got a close look at a lot of little monarch chrysalides (that’s the correct plural of “chrysalis”). They were exquisite. It’s hard to believe that they are alive; they look like little jade baubles that were inlaid with gold by a master jeweler. So often when you see a photograph of a monarch chrysalis, the picture is taken on high zoom, so you don’t get a sense of how tiny they really are. Absolutely fascinating.
I didn’t take a long walk in the park today, but I saw a lot of other animals nevertheless: woodpeckers, goldfinches, hummingbirds (!!!), and some other birds that I couldn’t identify at the bird feeders, as well as a thirteen-striped ground squirrel (not at the bird feeders; on the ground, where it belonged).
I’m so lucky to live in South Dakota. It is a natural wonderland.