We went to a small nearby town for lunch yesterday. Instead of taking the highway, we went by way of the back roads (gravel). And when you drive on gravel, you drive slower and see more. I couldn't believe how many milkweeds there were along the road. It was almost as if they had been planted. I may have to take a drive and see if they have been left to go to seed. We could scatter them in hubby's wildflower patch.
The other thing we were surprised about was the number of mourning doves on the road...we would see 5 or 6 of them together on the road....appeared to be harvesting something. This went on for several miles. I bet we saw 30 or 40 doves. I love to hear them
Gardening like I'm gonna live forever, right here in central Iowa. Posting since 2008.
Steve, we will be on the lookout for the Painted Lady, Richard thinks he saw a few last week in the garden. He thought they were Monarchs at first, then realized they were not. He has a new hobby........
Ask somebody (an ag council?) about a plant commonly called doveweed. There is Eremocarpus setigerus which is not apparently found in Iowa, but I'm in California, it's common in western states. I found a reference in an old book on Google: Proceedings of Iowa Academy of Science. The reference mentions areas around Yosemite! I do not understand that. But yes, there are other plants called dovewed. And yes, I get them under my birdseed tree and enjoy theire calls in lateafternoon.
Waste no time; head for this Amazon link: tinyurl.com/obeym2k The book that is a "must have" is Butterflies through Binoculars! It is now up to $48 (not a typo!) for the book I bought a few years ago for $18. But the link I provided is a used-good copy at $10. A steal, in my opinion.
Excellent photos of all western bugs (casual; butterflies aren't bugs) and lots of info to absorb. I bought several other ID guides, then found this one. It is the proverbial gold standard. Drawings in other ID books are nice ,these photos are better. - - - Addendum: I wanted to add that having a good ID book is a real help, of course, but I confess, until you start snapping pictures to use for comparisons, you will get close, just not to species without a good reference. Looking and remembering is a challenge, and the bug won't sit and wait.. As for binoculars: there are actually binoculars made for watching butterflies and birds. Pentax Papilio close-focus binoculars are nice, but at $100, they should be. Most (all?) digital cameras can take a decent macro (close up, almost to size) and that's how I work. Learning to sneak up on a butterfly is the first part. They wait until you press the button and then zip away, laughing.
Anyway, it's an interesting hobby at any level. Go have fun.
Butterfly photography is not hard, per se, but challenging on several fronts. Some thoughts: • I think an iPhone is a fine way to start. Since it can be zoomed as a telephoto, that helps. And then zooming a good photo on the computer will help compare to the book. The main problem is actually seeing what's on the screen in bright sunlight. • Certainly start with what you have, but when you find it's time for an upgrade, you'll want to investigate a DSLR and a telephoto lens! This is where it gets scary. (Is Tall's Camera still in Costa Mesa? I'm thinking used gear.) The DSLR has you looking into the camera, not holding it away to see the screen. Big difference.
Butterflies typically appear when the temps get to 60° and they like to bask in the sun. Sneaking up on one is the first challenge. They are keenly aware of movement, casting a shadow on one is going to make it shoot off for another flower. • Getting a photo that works with the book would mean waiting for the animal to flex and keep the wings open for a few seconds. Harder yet, catching a wings-up shot. That, in most cases, is the one you will use to pin-down the ID.
If you scare one away, stay still. It often will circle around and soon come back to continue nectaring.
To immediately expand your butterfly world, find some different habitats. Not just pretty gardens, but try a dry weedy field! (are there any of those left in Newport Beach?) The California Buckeye is a weedy-field butterfly, easy to recognize on a first try:
Range: Resident in the southern United States and north along the coasts to central California and North Carolina; south to Bermuda, Cuba, Isle of Pines, and southern Mexico. Adults from the south's first brood migrate north in late spring and summer to temporarily colonize most of the United States and parts of southern Canada. —Butterflies and Moths of North America
Common Creeping Wood Sorrel is an unwanted weed in my gardens... Not only spreading by seeding from the flowers but it has an extensive root system as well... It travels...always digging it out from somewhere... In my yard, I would not introduce it.
One site states that it's seed capsules can eject seeds up to 10 feet!
FYI: Invasive Oxalis Beware of two species of oxalis that seem to have given the entire family a bad reputation. Both Bermuda buttercup oxalis (Oxalis pes-caprae) and creeping wood sorrell (Oxalis corniculata) may be considered invasive. Both species are low-growing with yellow flowers. Bermuda buttercup has bright green foliage, and creeping wood sorrell has reddish leaves. Both can be difficult to eradicate once established.
Timely additional info: ROL has an article all about the problems of invasive plants. The article happens to mention Oregon's ban on the butterfly bush! I wondered if you found the oxalis being sold in a nursery? In California, Scotch Broom ( both Scoparius and Genista -aka, French Broom) are totally invasive yet are sold in big box nurseries. I wonder how most people are supposed to get the news?
hey steve - no I did not find it in a nursery, I just like it, and I don't particularly care about the invasive, I want it to spread and become 'living mulch', and it's cute I know, I'm weird. so do you suppose it would interfere with whatever I was growing? it's not MINT! (my intention is to get expepriencial information, not create discource.... plain ol' 'just wondering')
aunt judy, thank you, I read the article
remember that stuff I asked about that was low growing FLAT even, a few years ago (shoot,i don't remember what it was) but it was a super effective multch, even tho it spread and everything...
we had a butterfly bush out front at one house I rented a room. it didn't invade... butterfly bush is popular here...I would put one in the 6 x 20 flower bed if I had one.