Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mid-July Butterflies and Blooms

Despite the threatening weather (when a warm front meets a cold front in west-central Wisconsin), we headed down Rustic Road 107 this afternoon.

The mosquitoes were unbearable.  Deer flies clung to the front of the Prius (perhaps attracted to the engine heat).

Fledgling Chipping Sparrows seem to have figured out that insects are easy picking along the edge of the road.  They're all along the road, darting in and out of the vegetation.   I don't know how many times I stopped to look, thinking they had to be Vesper or Lark Sparrows. 

There were only few butterflies on the road - most of them Red Admirals.  I wonder which species will soon hatch out and take over as "most abundant."  First the Emperors, then Red Admirals... who's next?

It wasn't until we got up the hill on County Road "O" east of Meridean that we spotted the swallowtails - both the black and yellow Eastern Tiger Swallowtails and a Giant Tiger Swallowtail.

A little further down the road, we spotted a male Monarch on a Culvers Root.

We spotted several Monarchs, including this one, flying with his proboscis unwound...

We also spotted lead plant, bellflower and a surprise - lesser purple fringed orchis - in bloom

When the skies turned black, we headed home, but not soon enough.  We got caught in that big storm.  Fortunately we did not get hit by the hail and flying tree debris.

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