I think this has been the Summer of the Butterfly for us. We started our study with the emergence of the cabbage worms that ate their way through our broccoli. We watched 5 emerge into butterflies, completed a butterfly lapbook and now everywhere we go the boys are shouting out..." I see a tiger swallow tail!" or " There goes a painted lady!" They've learned the names and can ID the 5-6 types we see in our yard. We never did find a Monarch egg/caterpillar this year. And the tobacco hornworm didn't make it, although we did see a dead tobacco moth on the driveway last week and Rylan immediately asked if it was a tobacco moth.
Earlier in the week, on our way outside we found this hanging near the latch to our chain link fence. It was still drying.
We watched it for a few minutes before going off to pick raspberries. Rylan actually stayed with it for about 20 minutes. Scaring the dogs away if they got to close. Cale kept coming back and trying to pick it up and Rylan would try and scare him away too :) He was just getting ready to leave it when it took flight. They watched it fly up to the house and back and landed on our shed.
And upon close inspection, we found about 6 of these hanging on our fence:
We'll have to keep an eye out for them next year so we can catch more of them. I haven't ID'd this butterfly yet- they are small, really pretty markings, dark orange on the outer wings. We'd been seeing them all around out cosmos for weeks.