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This is the first time in my life I saw a Gulf Fritillary Butterfly. I have been a  butterfly observer in the San Francisco area my whole life, since I was a kid. It caught me by surprise when I saw this butterfly, as I was hoping to photograph Hummingbirds or Bumblebees. It was in our yard for about one and half minutes. I only had about 30 seconds to photograph it, when it landed on the flower of our New Improved Meyers Lemon tree. It looked like it traveled many miles as the wings were tattered. This was a very cool surprise visit from a butterfly I never knew existed until I identified this species looking on the internet.

When I was a kid, I would watch the butterflies in our backyard or when I went out with friends to play. I enjoyed seeing the different types of butterflies in the Bay Area. I tried to catch butterflies and keep them in. I used to raise Anise Swallowtail caterpillars, until they went through the transformation to a pupa to a butterfly. I did this because the caterpillars were disappearing and possibly eaten by predators. I then released them in the backyard. I love the colors and patterns on butterflies. My wife even surprised me at our wedding banquet wearing a Chinese dress with butterflies. It was my dream as a young adult to create a garden to attract butterflies, hummingbirds and bees.

Whenever it is sunny and clear, I go to the backyard when the sunlight is at its peak to shoot photographs. Today I was getting discouraged about not seeing any hummingbirds. My wife snuck into the yard to clip a few branches of rosemary for dinner. She knows to keep quiet so not to scare any creatures. Just as my wife came to the yard, I spotted this special butterfly. I’m so glad I was quick to capture this butterfly’s pictures.

This butterfly is a good reminder that life is filled with surprises. I’ve always expected to see butterflies which are normally seen in San Francisco. It was exciting to see a different species of butterfly.

This pandemic has taught also a lot about surprises. We never expected to be home for over a year due to this pandemic. Never did we dream how this pandemic would effect businesses and our economy. Those who caught COVID-19 often have no idea how they got sick especially when they tried to be careful.

Surprises can be good and bad. I’m glad today I was blessed with a good surprise to see this special butterfly. It may have weathered difficult flights to get to San Francisco, but I’m glad it found my backyard. Perhaps if I did not attempt to grow my garden environment to shoot photographs, this butterfly would never have found the Meyers lemon blossom to take a sip of nectar.

Striving for goals do give surprise blessings. 

Photos capture surprise moments!