Top Photo: Large milkweed bugs mate between milkweed seed pods.
Butterfly sightings are increasing. The common buckeye pictured here is a fairly easy find in grass along road and path edges.
The Joe-Pye-weed in Wander Away is in bloom. Its tiny blossoms attract a variety of insects including hairstreak butterflies.
Though I wanted to show you a juniper hairstreak on the Joe-Pye-weed as well, the one I was in pursuit of kept itself just out of reach. You’ll have to settle for this one on yarrow.
A great egret dropped in to our wetlands on July 10 and 16 for a brief visit. These birds are probably part of a post breeding dispersal from breeding areas further south of us. The birds make it as far north as Maine and the Great Lakes before turning around and heading back south in the fall.
I’ve seen great egrets in our wetland in August, November, December and January.
The milkweed pods in the top photo and below will eventually ripen, dry and split open to reveal brown seeds attached to silky fibers which will be carried far and wide by the wind.
The seeds, hopefully, will germinate, new milkweed plants will grow to support and feed red milkweed beetles, milkweed leaf beetles, large milkweed bugs, most famously monarch butterfly larvae, and supply nectar for numerous other insects, and even hummingbirds.
But wait, did you know, that at one time during World War II these seed pods were collected by school children across the country in order to use the fibers within the pods for stuffing life preservers for the war effort. The silk, or floss, is hollow and somewhat waxy making it buoyant in water.
The kids would collect the pods, place them in government issue 20# mesh onion bags, turn them in to local organizers who would ship them off to Michigan to be processed. They would receive 15¢ per bag. It would take two bags for enough floss to make one life preserver.
What’s not to like about milkweed.