I love seeing these clearwing, or hummingbird moths, partly because they don’t come around that often and because of their relatively large-bodied fuzziness. Caught this one on a dark overcast day in the office garden. (Sorry about the too-hot flash.)
When the competition at the feeder was too rough, some hummingbirds opted to find nectar in the wildflowers below. The competition there was pretty good too — what with all those butterflies, bees and other pollinators. Here, a hummingbird goes for what must be the juiciest flower in the garden, since the butterfly was already there.
The monarchs are back. Well, at least one monarch. This one was trying to rest in the goldenrod this morning, but found himself being buffeted by breezes, honey bees, wasps and other pollinators. You can see the wear on his wings — appearing as scratches in some of his orange areas.
Every October, we look forward to the monarch butterfly migration. Two weekends ago, I spent a couple of hours in one of the gardens, ripping out the overgrown mass of foot-high grass and weeds, as well as the dried brown coreopsis and black-eyed Susan stems that were now wrapped tightly by a white morning glory-type vine.
In the midst of the mess were giant goldenrods and bunches of a woody-stemmed, white baby’s breath-looking flowers, all lassoed and pulled to the ground by the little white trumpet vines. A few bug bites and a lot of sweat later, the undergrowth was cleared away and the nectar-bearing goldenrods and white mystery flowers freed and staked to stand tall as a way station for the monarchs’ annual southward migration.
Today, they came to the mountain.
MAKING A PIT STOP — This monarch spends time gathering nectar for its long journey south.
WINGS DE DEUX — Monarch and gulf fritillary in the goldenrod.
WAY ‘TWO’ ORANGE — Gulf fritillary and monarch making their way around the blooms.
JACKPOT! — Five butterflies — monarch, gulf fritillary, American lady and a couple of dusky hairstreaks.
RIDING THE WIND — All of these winged creatures were hanging on tight as their goldenrod perch was buffeted by mountain winds.
THEY’RE EVERYWHERE — Wasps, bees, pollinators of all types were making the goldenrods buzz.
We’re not sure what kind of tree this is, but in the spring it sprouts clusters of tiny, nondescript light green blossoms that are to pollinators as catnip is to felines. Stand within 5 feet and you will hear the tree buzz loudly. So loudly, my husband said: “it’s like standing next to a dynamo!”
Nearly every branch is in motion with the landings and departures of hundreds, if not thousands, of honeybees, carpenter bees, bumbles, wasps, butterflies and hummingbirds. Its shiny black fruits keep the birds happy through the winter.
Springtime in the Ouachitas engages every sense. Feel of the warm sun, see the vibrance of its animal and plant life, taste the honeysuckle, breathe in the fragrance of its blooms and listen to the work songs of its pollinators. Carpenter bees, bumblebees, honeybees, wasps, flies and butterflies — they were everywhere on Saturday as the mountains’ wild fruit trees’ blooms soaked in the sunshine.