Thursday, June 21, 2012

Butterfly Hunt

I have a class of butterfly enthusiasts.  It helps not only that we raised a swarm of Painted Lady butterflies, but also the fact that this seems to be the year of the BUTTERFLY!  Anyone else notice the great number of them this year?  Monarchs, yellow swallow-tails, painted ladies, mourning cloaks, cabbage whites!!!  (y' know, the little green worms in your salad!), there is a multitude of them all!  I have even seen the hummingbird moth which I had only seen once before around here.  I wonder what brings the population up so?  Is it the weather?  
Cabbage White
A quick search brought up this article.  Seems like a break in a drought made for ideal conditions and these insects flourished.  
Canadian Tiger Swallowtail
We went butterfly hunting this week.  We kept a list of the kinds and the number of each.  As each count is, we of course missed lots, but  this was great practice in identifying some of the different varieties found around here.  The cabbage whites, a gardeners nightmare, are especially numerous!  
Cabbages whites -- really enjoying the sage in my flower garden.
Painted Lady
I made the mistake of taking butterfly nets.  They were tucked away in the corner of the storage room and I couldn't resist.  I did a talk on what to 'catch', how to handle, and how to release butterflies unharmed.  But of course kids end up chasing and wildly running and the butterfly count becomes a hunt...  
Our sketchy count...

Tiger Swallowtail - 3
Monarch -- 23
Cabbage White -- 70
Painted Lady -- 7
Mourning Cloak -- 1

1 comment:

  1. We too have noticed that there are more butterflies this year. We actually have some caterpillars in school to watch their amazing cycle - the best science lesson of the year.