Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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A Mosaic of Butterflies

Today the butterfly meadow is a mosaic of butterflies. Dozens, hundreds, too many to count. Monarchs, sulphurs, cabbage whites, painted ladies, hairstreaks -- if it lives in my yard and has wings, it's out there today. Swarms of bees and other insects are also on the wing, followed by hungry birds.

A few of the wildflowers I planted earlier this year are blooming, but mostly the meadow is a raft of goldenrod accented with thistle and assorted other weeds. The butterflies are perfectly happy to land on those. So I'm basically adding wildflowers for my own gratification, to expand the menu and bloom time, and because I know that a more diverse ecosystem is better than one dominated by a few aggressive species.

So here are some snapshots ...










This particular plant was adrift with whites and sulphurs. The least breeze sent them all fluttering and dancing. I've been calling it a weed, but now I'm thinking it is a frost aster, which is a rather desirable prairie wildflower. I should go take a closer look, as there are several substantial patches of these and if they are indeed important wildflowers, I need to make sure we don't pull them up. They are among the best butterfly magnets in the yard.



Here is a fat monarch caterpillar. He is almost ready to shed his skin and transform into a pupa. He belongs to the "traveling" generation of monarchs and will be migrating south, if he survives.



These sites have more info on the butterflies of Illinois:
http://www.richard-seaman.com/Arthropods/Usa/Butterflies/Illinois/index.html
http://www.thebutterflysite.com/illinois-butterflies.shtml
http://www.illinoisbutterflies.com/

Identify some weeds and wildflowers:
http://weedid.aces.uiuc.edu/
http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info
http://www.ct-botanical-society.org/galleries/symphyotrichumpilo.html

Learn more about Illinois prairies:
http://www.inhs.illinois.edu/~kenr/tallgrass.html
http://www.museum.state.il.us/muslink/prairie/
http://chicagowildernessmag.org/issues/fall2005/weekendexplorer.html
http://tdworld.com/overhead_distribution/power_illinois_embraces_prairie/
http://www.inhs.illinois.edu/~kenr/prairierestoration.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradley_method_of_bush_regeneration
Tags: illinois, nature, personal, photography
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