On a recent trip to Crex Meadows the Great Spangled Fritillaries were out in great numbers.
Over the past several years I’ve been trying to grow milkweed on the farm. I started with a patch in the garden and now have three large patches of milkweed. The original intent was to provide food and lodging for Monarch Butterflies. Last year I had a bumper crop of Monarch Caterpillars in the various milkweed patches. This summer I’ve seen the results of my labor. Not only do I have Monarch Caterpillars but I have a great variety of butterflies using the blooming milkweed. In addition to the butterflies there are also Ruby-throated Hummingbirds frequenting the patches as well as a variety of bees.
I spent the better part of a morning in my patches photographing butterflies. As I formed the idea for this blog I thought I must have lots of photos of butterflies on my milkweed plants. Later in the day I searched my photos and much to my surprise I don’t have a single photo of a butterfly on a milkweed plant. Either I haven’t been out in the milkweed patches at the right time or this is truly an unusual year. Today I counted 10 different butterflies in my milkweed patch. Here are just a few of the insects I found on my milkweed plants.
The one of the few late summer flowers in my prairie is the Canada Goldenrod. It is reaching its full bloom now. Because it is one of the few flowers blooming at this time of year it is the food source for a large number of critters. Yesterday I walked through the prairie and noticed over fifteen different types of bees, bugs and butterflies. It seems to be the primary food source for the Monarch Butterflies as they get ready to leave for Mexico. I’m a little concerned that the Monarchs are a little late in hatching this year and the Goldenrod is already in full bloom. Here are some of the critters I found in my goldenrod patch this week.