Sunday, September 15, 2013

Color Begets Color

If you think of a flowering plant as a slow-motion firework, with a summerlong rise up to a shower of color ("Fireworks" is actually the name of a variety of goldenrod), then the goldfinch in this photo is reminiscent of those fireworks that flash in the sky, then send another ring of color out beyond the initial display, like booster rockets. As I approach, the goldfinches rise up out of the cutleaf coneflowers, flashes of gold headed to a nearby tree limb to wait until I leave.

They don't seem to care if the seeds are ripe or not, descending on the seedheads before all the petals have fallen. Being small and lightweight is an advantage when perching on a slim stem.

Other airborne yellows arrive, like this Clouded Sulphur (Colias sp.),

and a tiger swallowtail, relatively common this year, here on a cup plant bloom.

A red-spotted purple (Limenitis arthemis) showed up one day on the boneset.

This yellow-collared scape moth (Cisseps fulvicollis) is a more frequent visitor.

This is the multiplicating capacity of a wildflower garden, to layer interest upon interest. The boneset in particular are like small ecosystems, creating at least a three-tiered food chain of flower, dozens of kinds of pollinator, plus various predators thereof.

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