Monday, September 7, 2015

How I Spent My Summer Vacation-Chasing Butterflies

"What you looking at?' asked the Cabbage White butterfly on a lobelia blossom. Blue is their favorite flower color.
It's so much fun, plopping flowers into the garden to please the butterflies. Then here they come. My humble efforts at a butterfly garden have rewarded me with lovely, flitting friends all summer long. How did I spent my summer vacation? Socializing with butterflies!

Reakert's Blue
My yard is older, and I'm a sloppy gardener, so the butterflies love it. We have the bushes and trees, and piles of mulch they need to live out their life cycle and bring forth their young. I don't use pesticides. The ecosystem of the garden helps their community to thrive.

Some of the butterflies a little small, like this lovely blue one. So a butterflier has to enjoy standing still and just calmly looking around, checking for tiny details in color and movement that might be one of your lepitoptera (moth or butterfly.)

Blue Marine

I'm very pleased to participate with two websites about butterflies that accept photos and reports of your own sightings. The folks that run the sites also help identify the butterflies. It makes me feel like such a scientist!

Gray Hairstreak
Here are the sites so you can also participate:

North American Butterfly Association

Butterflies and Moths of North America
 This site (BAMONA) actually uses a Goggle map app to place the sighting location!

Checkered White asleep on the rosemary.
I have been working to create a Butterfly Garden for all seasons, since enjoying the magnificent creatures flitting from flower to flower in the summer is only the most obvious part of the responsibility. Appropriate brush, bushes, trees and mulch provide spaces for them to go through their life cycle. I'm doing my best to expand and deepen the welcoming spaces for my fluttering friends. I got to know them so well, I even knew where they slept at night! (In the sage, part of the herb garden. How cute is that?) They like to rest in the rosemary, too.
People always said I was certifiable!
There are many bushes, plants, and trees that volunteer to grow even in my region, which, according to the USDA Planting Guide, is 8b. We are in the Mohave Desert (the high desert part, we're about 3,000 ft) and the temps can be extreme. from well over 100 F in the summer, to well below freezing in the winter.  Frankly, if something wants to grow in my yard, I'm going to let it try. Except tumbleweed.

Painted Lady on its way to Mexico.

Here is an indigenous plant that butterflies and bees REALLY love. We call it Rabbit Brush.  Here you see the Painted Lady butterfly migrating from the San Bernardino Mountains through my backyard to Mexico for the winter. How many humans envy that!
Mournful Duskywing

Gulf Fritillary

Julia's Skipper
Here are a couple of unfamiliar butterflies the folks at the websites helped me identify. With tech equipment everywhere, we are all photo-journalists! Well, we've always been inspired by Nat Geo--so here we go!

This little Skipper butterfly reminds me of being a little girl in my Grandma's garden. I will admit to catching them in my hands and then letting them go.

This is my gallery of butterflies--hope to see more in the mountains and oceanside in the coming year. And my home is their home, too. It is a privilege.

Here is the link to my page at BAMONA for this Swallowtail


No comments:

Post a Comment