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In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Each day of the year I will post something here about nature. It may be any format, a photo, video, audio, sketch or entry from my nature journal. It could be a written piece. Each day I will connect to nature in some way and share it here by the end of that day. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to the RSS feed or be notified by email. See all the 365 Nature posts.

Today was more about the photo I didn’t get instead of the photo I did get. Over the last two weeks, a butterfly has been spotted in our backyard, but only briefly. The first time it flew through I just caught a glimpse as it passed by, but I noted it was orange and black and I was pretty sure it wasn’t a Painted Lady. The next time it flew not just through the yard, but around the yard briefly. Again though it was so quick I still didn’t get a good look at it. This routine kept happening every other day or so. I’d notice it, and whenever I did, I never had my camera nearby, and after I’d see it, that was it for the day, I wouldn’t see it a second time that day. Today I was standing inside and it briefly touched down twice before flying away, all the while I was trying to find my camera, my phone, anything to capture a photo. Of course, nothing was nearby, and I almost always have my phone on me. It always seems to visit on purpose when I’m unready for it. It’s become something of a white whale for me, trying to not only capture a photo of this mysterious and elusive butterfly, but simply to see it well enough to possibly identify it.

After all these quick sightings of it I’m inclined to say it’s a Red Admiral, but I wouldn’t say that with any confidence at all. I can only hope that stars align one day and I finally get a look at it before the flight season is over.

Meanwhile, above are photos from today of insects that actually stayed for more than a few seconds, while I had my camera.


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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist, writer and photographer based in Seattle. She is the author of NATURE OBSCURA: A City’s Hidden Natural World from Mountaineers Books. She writes freelance articles about natural history and has bylines in Crosscut, Popular Science, National Wildlife Magazine and others. On the side she writes fiction. Kelly holds a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon and a certificate in non-fiction writing from the University of Washington.

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