Thursday, August 21, 2014

Meadow Fritillary

Meadow Fritillary on New York Ironweed
The pink petals and golden pincushions of Echinacea are now faded, but American goldfinch in breeding plumage delight in pecking at the thistle. Still, the late blooming native flowers create a wonderful opportunity to get up close and personal with all kinds of pollinators. New York ironweed is towering above the strip of meadow, Maryland golden asters are just beginning to open to a deep yellow and the Joe Pye weed blossoms are covered with bees. And, I have been observing all kinds of visitors to the mountain mints, thoroughwort, rudbeckia and butterfly weed. This summer has been a bit lean for the sighting of butterflies in the garden. I have seen only one Monarch butterfly and the number of swallowtails is way down; branded skippers and spring azures being the most frequent visitors.  So I was delighted and surprised to catch a glimpse of a beautiful meadow fritillary feeding on New York ironweed. Photographing butterflies is a challenge for me as their visits to flowers are short and sweet. But I get a second chance because, after being disturbed, they always flutter around the area for a short while before returning to the same flower for a second sip.