I have to admit, I don't seem to get nearly as giddy anymore at the sight of all those beautiful vegetables, ripe and heavy, filling our garden to overflowing. The initial excitement of our first few successfully grown and harvested vegetables has faded now to more of a satisfied pride, a warm spread of pleasure at the sight of the tall green plants now crowding together in the plot of land that began so simply last spring. But you know what I just can't get over? The vast number of butterflies that have been attracted to our yard by the presence of those very plants! We have, in the past, tried planting specific types of flowers in our beds to attract butterflies, but never with much success. It never even occurred to me that our vegetable garden would bring them here is such an astounding quantity! I wish I could say that we planted with the specific intention of providing larval food sources for area butterflies, but the truth is that it was only after we began seeing so many that we really began to research and find out exactly what species were visiting and to what specific plants they were attracted. We are learning so much! We're already planning next year's garden with our fluttering friends in mind! We've been compiling a list of "Our Backyard Butterflies" as we positively identify them, and already they include a dozen different varieties--pretty impressive, considering we live right in the middle of the desert! Some of our favorite resources include National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies, National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Southwestern States, Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America, and Butterflies of North America. (Those last two in particular have been especially helpful in differentiating between very similar species. I would highly recommend either of them for identification purposes!) Even Dylan is so pleased to have his very own Butterfly & Moth book, which he has been taking with him in the car and sleeping with at night.
In addition to the several butterflies I've already previously posted, here are just a few more we've discovered in the past week.
Common Checkered Skipper