Spring arrives in San Diego in February, with rain, the greening of hillsides, flowering native plants, and the return of insects and spiders. Butterflies have started to return to the garden. One day, a Monarch soared over, looking for milkweed. Another day, a yellow and black Anise Swallowtail, with a wingspan of 3 1/2 inches, landed on the anise we planted from seed in the late fall, curled its tail under and planted five eggs.
Buddy classes are doing informal species counts in the garden in late February and early March, visiting each planter and rooting around among the plants to see what insects, spiders and other animal life they can find there.
While we haven’t learned the names of every animal we found, we did see ladybugs at various stages of develoment, aphids — both yellow and gray — a katydid, some small fiery skipper butterflies, pill bugs, sow bugs, small brown spiders called Metaltella simoni, a tiny Melissa Blue butterfly, and orb weaving spiders called Golden Garden Spiders.
We’ll do another count in a couple of weeks, and work to create a field guide to our garden.