Thursday, August 05, 2010

Winged creatures

We have seen more queen butterflies this year than ever before, even though we have fewer asclepias or milkweed flowers than usual. All our milkweed froze during the winter, and only the all-yellow variety has returned as volunteers, both in pots and in the ground. We become used to the predominance of gulf fritillaries and don't always pay as much attention to the spectacular swallowtails and other visitors as we should. Sometimes visitors see no immediate difference between a gulf fritillary (orange body, just for one thing) and a queen (bright white spots on a black body). This I don't understand. In addition to our clouds of many kinds of butterflies, we see a certain hummingbird nearly every day (a black-chinned male), who visits every Turk's cap first before moving on to anythng else. Blue jays are taking the lead in consuming the ripe figs. Bees of every kind visit daily. Sometimes the lantanas and the flowers on the pride of Barbados are just alive with them. And the evil grasshoppers grow larger and larger.


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