A New Butterfly in the Yard

For anyone new to my blog, the whole reason I am an organic gardener is the butterflies.  When I began gardening on my property 20 years ago, there were no butterflies.  I found that a little odd, so I researched what butterflies needed.  In my research, I found that they were extremely sensitive to any sort of chemicals.  So I decided that I just wouldn’t use any.

Of course, convincing The Spoiler  [my husband, who gets that name for just such reasons as these] is a little harder.  Every spring I have to explain to him that no, we don’t use Preen™ because it is a chemical and we don’t use those and besides, the birds mistake it for seed and ingest it and die–very bad results.  And really, on those occasional times where he has preened first instead of discussing it, the results have not been spectacular.  I’d far rather hand pull the weeds.  Better exercise for me and far, far better for the environment and our backyard friends.

So a couple of weeks ago I was just astonished to see this largish brown “something” in the yard.  At first I thought it was a moth–but then I realized it was “basking” with its wings open and moths bask with them closed so it had to be a butterfly.

I still haven’t gotten really close to it–it’s shier than the larger varieties like the swallowtails and the monarchs–but every evening when I come out to walk with the dog around the yard there are at least a dozen, flitting from the violets to the clover in the lawn (which is another nice reason to have some variety in the lawn–lovely butterflies will visit).

Unfortunately, because it is so shy, I’ve not been able to photograph it so I’ve included a link, below.

My best guess at what this new visitor is is a red admiral.  There is a serious “irruption” of them going on, from Oklahoma (where my sister lives–she even emailed me about her irruption) to Ontario Canada.  Irruption for those not familiar with the term simply means “unusual gathering of large numbers.”

This will be my 30th species of butterfly in the yard since we’ve gone “mostly” organic (I say “mostly” to atone for the Spoiler’s occasionally lapses into chemicals when my back is turned!)

For those of you still not convinced about the power of organics, if 30 different butterfly species in the yard can’t convince you, I don’t know what will.  And it didn’t take 20 years–I had 25 species after just 5 years of “mostly” organic practices.  I have over 70 different bird species–when the Spoiler isn’t doing them in with his chemical pellets.  And I have lots of other wildlife as well, some mostly loved only by me.

But it’s hard to deny the beauty of butterflies–our flying jewels as they have been called.

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