Blazing Stars and Tiger Swallowtail

The tall, purple spikes of Blazing Stars (Liatris) are now the brightest spot in the backyard and we’ve been enjoying them immensely.

We aren’t the only ones who like these flowers. Various bees and other small insects are frequent visitors, as well as a hummingbird.

We’ve also been watching several Tiger Swallowtail butterflies as they float gracefully from one spike to another. Continue reading “Blazing Stars and Tiger Swallowtail”

Butterfly and Native Plant Resources and Images

I appreciate everyone who is giving monarchs and other butterflies a helping hand, and I want to support them however I can. One way to do that is by sharing resources I’ve created and photos I’ve taken.

For example, I managed to photograph a monarch laying eggs in our backyard in 2006, and the amazing transformations that occurred from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis and finally to a new adult.

I’ve recently added a web page with butterfly and native plant resources for educators and anyone interested in butterflies. It includes:

  • Monarch life cycle
  • How to create a Monarch Way Station
  • 25 Kentucky native plants – for beginners who want to attract butterflies

In addition to the PDFs, photos on my website may be downloaded for educational purposes. If you need higher resolution images for printing, please contact me.

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”
Van Gogh

Are you seeing any early pollinators?

Spring is finally arriving in Kentucky! My crocuses and daffodils are creating scattered colorful bouquets, and the pussy willow blooms are soft and fuzzy. I’ve been watching for early pollinators, but so far  without success.

I have discovered ants in some of the crocus blooms. From what I read, they are really after nectar and do little if any pollinating. 

I wonder where this ant spent the cold winter months. How did it find its way into this relatively ‘big’ crocus bloom? Does it take some of the nectar ‘home’ to share? 

I’m glad to see signs of spring, and my search for pollinators will continue.

Birds of Sanibel, Florida

I haven’t done much photography for quite a while. However, during a recent trip to Captiva, Florida, I was inspired by the wonderful birds we saw at the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge and had great fun using the camera again. We made several trips at different times of the day, always making new discoveries. I felt like I was in a different country.

There were lots of memorable moments, but one of my favorites was when we saw hundreds of egrets and herons concentrated in a ‘ditch’ along the edge of the mangroves. We were able to get very close, and they didn’t seem to mind us at all, although there was lots of “squawking” among themselves.

It was a special treat to see a wide variety of water birds including white pelicans, wood storks and roseate spoonbills.

Click here for a slideshow of my favorite photos of the week