A Welcome Sight


The Monarch drifted by in his bright sunrise colors. He landed on a blade of grass and gently beat his wings. A passing motorcycle startled us both. He flew to the daisy fleabane flowers further away.

It was the first Sunday in July and I was standing by the Great St. Johnswort flowers waiting and hoping for the return of the indigo bunting. The butterfly was my first Monarch sighting of the year! I saw another one fluttering in the flowers in a different part of the garden later in the morning and two more the following Wednesday.

Yesterday, I read about the Monarch butterfly life cycle on the web site of the University of Minnesota Monarch Lab. This beautiful butterfly is most likely a member of the first generation of the summer Monarchs. He could have started his life on a plant here or further south. There were decent sized milkweed plants in this area by the end of May. According to the information on the web site, it takes anywhere from 20 to 37 days for a Monarch to go from a newly laid egg to a larva to a pupa to an adult. The summer Monarch generations live for 2 to 5 weeks. In that time, the female Monarch lays about 700 eggs. The final generation lives up to 9 months. They are the ones who make the fall journey thousands of miles to the over-wintering spots in Mexico and California and then return again in the spring.

I haven’t seen a Monarch caterpillar yet. Now that I know they have returned, I will give the milkweed plants in view a closer inspection.

A male Monarch butterfly in the garden at Jester Park, Iowa, July 2, 2017.

A male Monarch butterfly in the garden at Jester Park, Iowa, July 2, 2017.

A male Monarch butterfly in the garden at Jester Park, Iowa, July 2, 2017.

A male Monarch butterfly in the garden at Jester Park, Iowa, July 2, 2017.

A male Monarch butterfly in the garden at Jester Park, Iowa, July 2, 2017.

A male Monarch butterfly in the garden at Jester Park, Iowa, July 2, 2016.

Take care and thanks for reading.



About Sarah

nature, outdoor, and health enthusiast, book reader, and story teller
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15 Responses to A Welcome Sight

  1. zirah1 says:

    Love the video clip and delightful bird songs in the background. A nice way to spend part of my Sunday morning! Like being outside while still inside. And I’m so happy you had the monarch sightings. I know you’ve been wondering whether you would see some in your area.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Zirah 🙂
      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I love listening to the birdsong. 🙂 It is instant calm for me. I am happy you enjoyed it. 🙂 The butterfly looked like he was beating his wings in time to the music only he skipped a beat or two in there. I was delighted to see him! I have been keeping a watch for the Monarchs. 🙂 I am curious to see a Monarch caterpillar so I will be walking around inspecting milkweed plants in the weeks to come.

      • zirah1 says:

        HA! I liked the part of him keeping time to the music. p. s. Happy full moon Sunday to you! We had rain much of yesterday, but it’s supposed to be sunny and clear all day today.

        • Sarah says:

          Happy full moon Sunday back to you. 🙂 Rain is good. It sounds like you have a beautiful weather Sunday to enjoy. It is nice here as well. I overslept and didn’t go out with the camera this morning. I did go for a walk here and it was very pleasant. Now, I am taking the opportunity to get caught up on other things. I am doing a study of the flowers this summer for photos as well as drawings and paintings. I find this sort of thing interesting and captivating. I saw a few new flowers blooming when I was walking which I need to look up. I hope you enjoy your day! 🙂

  2. Shady_Grady says:

    What wonderful pictures! Butterflies are cool creatures.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Shady 🙂
      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you enjoyed the pictures. 🙂 Butterflies are really cool. I am hoping to see them at the other stages of their life cycle as well this year. I don’t recall having seen a Monarch caterpillar before. They look distinctive enough that I think I would remember. There are lots of places they could be so it might not happen, but I will be looking for them. 🙂

  3. birdlady612 says:

    Your photos are absolutely stunning. I don’t see as many butterflies as I would like, although I do see an occasional Monarch. I would love to plant milkweed to attract them, however, I’m allergic to it. Thanks for sharing your Monarchs. 🙋🐦

    • Sarah says:

      Hi 🙂

      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you liked the photos. 🙂 Butterflies are enchanting. 🙂 This Monarch looked like he was catching the sunshine with his wings.

      Butterfly gardens have become popular and I am happy this is so. 🙂 I was admiring the photos of your garden. It looks pretty and cheerful. 🙂 I have noticed that the Monarchs like drinking the nectar of zinnias. There are two butterfly gardens near here and one of them has many zinnia flowers. I don’t know if the Monarchs pass through your area when they migrate south for the winter. This place is on their migration route. September is butterfly month. I see the Monarchs everywhere even when I am driving. On a lunchtime walk in September two years ago, I counted a dozen Monarchs fluttering by. 🙂

  4. birdlady612 says:

    I don’t think they pass through my area, as we are probably too far North. I think they are actually trying to get away from us… I love zinnias and make a point to plant them every year, however, this year the groundghog ate them all.. It was a very sad moment.. 🙋🐦

    • Sarah says:

      That is too bad about the zinnias. They are such pretty flowers. I thought zinnias were impervious to the critters, but maybe it is rabbits that don’t like them. I hope you come up with a scheme to keep them out of your flowers next year!

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Diane 🙂
      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I love watching the butterflies. 🙂 September is butterfly month here. The Monarchs are traveling through on their way south. I have been seeing them all over the place and it is wonderful!

      • I planted 3 butterfly bushes a few years back. One died this year so I need to replant. I get all kinds of butterflies but for some reason not the monarchs.

        • Sarah says:

          It sounds like you have a very pretty garden and yard! I am happy for you that you get to watch the butterflies. 🙂 Yesterday, I was at a butterfly garden in a park about 30 minutes from home. There were many Painted Lady butterflies in the garden proper. The Monarchs were gathering nectar from blue flowers in the wild area between the sidewalk and the road. I have to look up the name of the flowers. I have also seen them on the zinnias in the garden there the last two years. I wasn’t able to go out this morning, but hope to again tomorrow. The Monarchs only pass through for a couple of weeks. This morning when I went out, there was a Monarch resting on the landing outside of my door under the railing by steps! He might have been there all night resting up for today’s flying. It is a happy thought. 🙂

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