A Mourning Cloak Butterfly in the Garden

I spent the morning in our garden and want to share some of what I saw. This lovely butterfly was flying around the yard and when it finally landed on the bougainvillea bush, I was able to take this photo. I’d never seen this variety,so looked it up on the internet and learned that in North American it is known as the Mourning Cloak butterfly. (Nymphalis antiopa) It’s the state insect of Montana. In Britain it’s known as the Camberwell Beauty. Older names for this species, are Grand Surprise and White Petticoat, which is my favorite. They have a life-span of 11 to 12 months, one of the most extensive for any butterfly. Apparently they are usually seen in hardwood forests. Perhaps that is why this one seemed to like our large and dense bougainvea bush. In Manitoba, Canada, the Mourning Cloak can be seen as early as March, when there is still ice on the ground. It’s  one of Manitoba’s most commonly seen butterflies.  When I started working in the garden this morning I certainly didn’t expect to be learning so much about this little visitor.
The Shasta Daisies are in full bloom, now. A few weeks ago I noticed the first blossom and knew spring was on its way. As the days get longer, more beautiful white blossoms open and brighten the garden. On a lovely spring day, it’s wonderful to be out in the flora and fauna.

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