Wings over the prairie…

butterfly on a plant

Monarch/Viceroy

Well, naturally we have birds of all sizes in the prairie. Everything from redtail hawks and turkey vultures to meadowlarks and yellow finches. However, the wings I was watching today were of the insect variety. There were all kinds of butterflies floating around the prairie. I saw monarchs or viceroys (sometimes it’s hard to tell them apart), red admirals, american painted ladies, and eastern tiger swallowtails, plus little yellow and white butterflies.

2 butterflies mating and a bee on a purple flower

Two Pearl Crescent Butterflies Mating (right), Bee on Bergamot (left)

yellow flower with a bee on it

Bee on Rosinweed

I also saw grasshoppers, flies and all sorts of pollinators… bee, wasps, hover flies, etc. There are several different types of grasshoppers and I have yet to identify them, but I have seen them in shades of brown, green and yellow. They take small flights from one point in the prairie to another. The pollinators also come in different colors and sizes. Flies pollinate things like the carrion flowers, while bees, wasps, hover flies and butterflies pollinate the other prairie plants.

In the afternoon we noted a lot of dragonflies darting above the prairie. They are always amazing to watch, but it also baffles us. There really is not much water around us. There is a small spring that exits the hillside around the bend from us. It flows out as a very small creek and gets large farther away. Recently I learned that dragonflies do not need a lot of water and will travel for food, but still our prairie seems a rather unlikely locations to find a large number of dragonflies.

pollinators on flowers

Pollinator on Dotted Horsemint (left), Pollinator on Whorled Milkweed

tiny fly on yellow petal

Hoverfly on a Prairie Sunflower Petal

bee hovering over orange flowers

Bee Coming in for a Landing on Butterfly Weed

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