Saturday, July 14, 2012

Distinguished Backyard Guests

Several distinguished pollinators paid visits recently, not least among them a monarch drawn to the golfball-sized blooms of buttonbush. Seems I started seeing monarchs a month ago, as opposed to August in previous years, which could have to do with the unusually warm winter.

The banner beebalm crop, in addition to drawing the bumbly crowd (the shiny abdomen suggests a carpenter bee rather than a bumble bee), was also graced by hummingbirds and another precision flyer, the syrinx moth, which can easily be mistaken for a small hummingbird. The syrinx, too, seems early. I found one trapped in a storm window in the middle of May.

Yesterday, a tiger swallowtail came by, lingering long on the latest buttonbush blooms to mature.
Each "ball" has hundreds of tiny flowers. The butterfly would make its way slowly back and forth around the flower, sampling each flower in turn.

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