Old fields, forest edges and road corridors harbor an impressive variety of summer flowers, many of them alien. Knapweed is one that I have grown to appreciate due to the tremendous insect activity associated with its flowers. On a hot, muggy summer afternoon it is possible to hear a field of knapweed in full bloom before you see it….bees! I liken the sound to that of the faint hum of traffic on a distant highway.
I appreciate the importance of this bloom as a food source for bees, and couldn’t walk away from a serving of knapweed honey. However, the main reason I trudge through the matted, thigh-high tangles of knapweed in the mid day heat is butterflies.
The summer season and waves of brightly colored wildflowers that arrive with it can be a seemingly endless array of sights, sounds and ecological interactions. There’s usually something in the mix to baffle, entertain and satisfy any nature enthusiast, regardless of their specialty. A simple, short walk through an open natural area (meadows, fallow fields, waste places) in the middle of a hot, steamy day can prove to be quite rewarding!
My gallery is a sample of images captured in the month of July. Let’s take a hike!
Common Yellowthroat foraging to feed fledged young; Valerian in bloom
Virginia Ctenuchid Moth on Knapweed
Goldenrod Spider on Fleabane; hunts by ambush from flowers rather than a web
Fritillary on Knapweed
Bees on Queen Anne’s Lace
Monarch on Swamp Milkweed
Bee on Cinquefoil
Tiger Swallowtail in Day Lily
Honeybee on Knapweed; Eurasian Honeysuckle (invasive shrub) fruit
Sulphur on Knapweed
Kingbird with a dragonfly; 3 fledged young waiting nearby
Viceroy on thistle
Fruit of Yellow Goats-beard (Dandelion-like flower)