Fields of Joy: Painted Lady Butterflies

Unprecedented numbers of Painted Lady butterflies fluttered about in fields of goldenrods and asters this month. They were everywhere, sometimes two to a flower cluster, presenting ample opportunities for environmental portraits. On more than one occasion they actually photo bombed a monarch shoot!

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Monarchs in Motion

Warm sunny days are fueling carpets of wildflowers in abandoned fields. Nectaring butterflies – monarchs, painted ladys and others – complete the scene as they dart, flutter and glide about in a continuous and purposeful manner. It all seems right. And September is a wonderful time of year to be alive.

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Photos by NB Hunter (September, 2017). © All Rights Reserved.

Wildflowers: August Jewels

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Jewelweeds (Touch-me-nots; Impatiens) have so many redeeming qualities. They’re a favorite in the late summer diet of deer; hummingbirds will camp out over a patch of jewelweed and alternately perch and feed for hours in the mid day sun; bees also feed on jewelweed nectar; and, on a chilly morning, when everything is dripping wet with dew, the jewels of jewelweed are beautiful.

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

 

Late Summer Jewels

Yesterday I watched a hummingbird visit this patch of wildflowers for nectar. When a very chilly night left everything covered in dew, I became the visitor! Called Jewelweed (also Touch-me-not) for the way water droplets linger on plant parts to form glistening, jewel-like beads, this native Impatiens is a late summer favorite.

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Photo by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Late Summer Colors

The delicate spring ephemerals like trillium and bloodroot might get more attention, but late summer wildflowers put on quite a show and often provide multiple rewards. Joe-Pye weeds (Eupatorium), goldenrods (Solidago) and asters (Aster) are dominant late summer bloomers that attract a multitude of insect life, to the point that a summer meadow hums like distant traffic. Of these three groups, Joe-Pye Weed is the first to reach full bloom and is a butterfly magnet!

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Sulphur on Joe-Pye Weed

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Fritillary on Joe-Pye Weed

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Monarch on Joe-Pye Weed

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Tiger Swallowtail on Joe-Pye Weed

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Fritillary on Joe-Pye Weed

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Painted Lady on Joe-Pye Weed

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.