September Meadows, 2019

September meadows showcase a lengthy sequence of bloom and the nectaring insects  attracted to the floral display. Goldenrods dominate early, followed by a beautiful palette of asters. This season, monarchs and red admirals were the most common butterfly visitors.

Monarch on goldenrod

Red Admiral on goldenrod

By mid September, the goldenrod bloom begins to fade as flowers go to seed and earth tones replace the golden yellow of fresh blossoms.

Sulphur on the fading bloom of goldenrod

The aster bloom seems to occur overnight, magically, in places where you didn’t even know there were asters. It is a fitting finale to the summer wildflower season and a timely food source for countless insects.

Aster, standing tall in a sea of goldenrod

Monarch approaching an aster to feed

Monarch on aster, with a background of goldenrods

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Dew-covered aster on a chilly September morning

An anglewing on aster

Photos by NB Hunter. © All rights reserved.

Arachnids!

A cool morning with drizzling rain led me to think I might find deer feeding on apples well past daybreak. I saw a buck at close range, but he stayed in the shadows in dense undergrowth, just beyond the wild apple trees. Another half mile and I was in a brushy meadow bordering an old apple orchard. This time there were no deer to be found, so I checked the goldenrod and knapweed blooms for something of interest.

Today’s discovery was a Black and Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia), a common Arachnid of gardens, field edges and similar habitats.

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Summer Meadows Magnified

Examined closely, summer meadows reveal a great variety of wildflowers and insect activity. These habitats are most appealing to me on sunny, damp mornings when there is a chill in the air (slows down the bugs so I can get at ’em!), but they’re worth visiting just about anytime. In the heat of the day, meadows can be pleasantly noisy (?) with the humming wing beats of many thousands of bees working flower to flower!

Knapweed (Centaurea) has just started to bloom, is attracting large numbers of honeybees and skippers, and will soon be the most abundant flower in the landscape. Bee-keepers know this plant, as it is a major food source for the honeybees in their colonies. Bedstraw (Galium) is everywhere and Birdsfoot Trefoil (Lotus) is scattered about in small patches. The latter is a member of the Pea family, useful in agriculture (hay), conservation (land reclamation) and wildlife management (food plots).

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Birdsfoot Trefoil

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Skipper on Birdsfoot Trefoil

 

 

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Honeybee on Knapweed

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Buttercup entangled in Bedstraw

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Skipper on Knapweed

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.