What’s your butterfly count?

Yes, I really want to know how many butterflies you’ve seen this summer.

My count so far:

13 Monarchs

5 Yellow Swallowtails

3 Black Swallowtails

4 Viceroys

Uncountable number of teeny tiny white butterflies swarming lavender flowers.

This count is not impressive. When I was a kid I saw so many Monarch butterflies that I took them for granted. Even on the South Side of Chicago they frequented gardens, vacant lots filled with wild Queen’s Anne Lace, Milkweed, and Black-eyed Susans. Where I live now sighting a Monarch, a Swallowtail or any other is a day maker for me.

What’s flying, or not, in your outside spaces? Are you seeing bees, butterflies and hummingbirds?

The ‘rain-drop’ effect. Yes, you too can grow Milkweed. And so can your neighbors and friends.

(Click the watch on YouTube option for more information about video providers.)


This afternoon I sighted Yellow Swallowtail number 5 catching a meal on the dwarf orange Zinnas which are still blooming madly in this ‘autumn’ heat. As I watched #5 move from flower to flower I wondered if this summer might be the last summer I see any Swallowtails and Monarchs–or any butterflies for that matter. A friend has only seen three Monarchs in her garden this years.

Calvin takes butterfly plant choices beyond the planting of Milkweed. Depending on the growing conditions where you live, consider your plant choices for gardens. Or if you’ve never planted anything how to start by planning a garden in order to provide what butterflies need to survive.

Take note: I’ve seen NO large bumble-bees like those that visited my  flowers last summer. Nope, not a single one. Have you seen them?

A glimpse of the bigger picture involving butterflies, bees and homo sapiens.




  1. October 24, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    My neighbor (and partial landlady) is from Europe and an avid gardener. You should see what their backyard looks like each summer, not to mention their koi pond. It’s a little paradise back there. She manages what little plant-able/grassy areas I have and has asked that I only do potted plants on my porches. No prob – so I do.
    Happily, my county really fights hard for land preservation. Some towns have laws that you cannot cut down any trees with over a certain circumference! There are so many trees by me – wish I could share. Well – maybe I can – here’s a tad – https://stilladreamer.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/morning-walk-late-september/ and https://stilladreamer.wordpress.com/2015/05/10/the-scenic-ride-home/
    On that note I leave you – enjoy. 🙂

  2. October 22, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    Hi. I don’t believe I’ve seen one Monarch which we used to see lots of (but we know what a heavy decline they’re in.). I’ve seen numerous yellow swallowtails throughout the spring and summer, easily one or two every day, and I work indoors. Black swallowtails seem to be fairly rare here, so maybe a couple over the summer. The smaller pale butterflies may be the cabbage whites, and I see plenty of them here all season long. Only now, as the chill moves in do I not see any.
    The big bumblebees of my childhood – haven’t seen them, but I’ve seen several smaller bumblebees daily all summer long. If they’re large, they’re carpenter bees. (Look like giant bumbles.) What I hardly ever see anymore are honeybees, and we know they’re still in worldwide collapse as well thanks to GMOs and pesticides.
    However – in my neighbor’s yard, where she plants numerous butterfly-friendly flowers and plants, I can see the flight of butterflies regularly, so it really may be that there’s not enough planted here to attract them.
    Over and out. 🙂

    • October 24, 2016 at 6:49 pm

      Hi. Thank you for your butterfly report.
      It might not be that there’s not enough planted but what is planted. Or they zero in on your neighbor’s flower feast and move on before visiting yours. I’ve noticed a drastic decline in the flowers in my neighborhood–partly due to the demises of elderly people who were ardent gardeners. No one ever keeps up the gardens on their homes when they pass on and the property changes hands. I can count seven such homes in a five block area where the flowering plants have ‘disappeared’. Then there are the trees–and I don’t even want to go there regarding consequences for our local ecosystem. Only two squirrels visit our feeders–one red and one gray. In comparison before the recent tree felling there as many as eleven squirrels at one time coming for some peanuts, seed and water. Thanks to the neighbors demolishing vast numbers of the shrubs and small trees many of the birds have also retreated to somewhere. There’s no talking about this–the people are entirely deaf to hearing about urban wildlife. They really hate the deer who eat their landscaping.
      Okay–so much appreciation for your neighbor’s efforts–and yours.

  3. October 9, 2016 at 2:47 am

    hello 47whitebuffalo its dennis the vizsla dog hay i hav not ben keeping trak of butterflies i did not no that wuz a thing!!! i wil keep an eye owt tho!!! dada sez he saw a bumbelbee arownd heer a fyoo weeks ago wich he sez he hardly ever has ever seen a bumbelbee heer ever befor so maybe thats a gud thing rite??? ok bye

    • October 16, 2016 at 12:06 am

      Well Dennis, I suppose seeing even ONE bumblebee is a good thing. There might come a time when dada doesn’t see any bees at all. If you’re lucky you’ll get to play chase with a butterfly or two before they’re all gone. 🙂 Okay bye bye.

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