The Painted Lady butterflies (Vanessa cardui) seem to be more abundant than ever. As the nectar producing plants decrease in number into late September there is a concentration of butterflies at the few remaining nectar plants. The New England Aster is a late-blooming plant that is an oasis where nectar is the reward for migrating butterflies, including the Monarch. This accounts in part for the appearance of greater numbers of these beauties.

Happy National Dog Day! Out on the trail or curled up on the bed, we love our four-legged friends. At Denali National Park in Alaska, sled dogs are important members of the team. Here’s Tephra, a 9-year-old Alaskan husky working her last season before she retires this month. Photo of Tephra posing with fireweed by Miles Leguineche, National Park Service.