Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mellow Yellows

Summer is the season for yellow!  Think: sunflowers and flower filled prairies.
Great St. John's-wort, Hypericum pyramidatum
This yellow was found along the the Clear Fork River at Mohican. Great St. John's-wort is a robust  native that  grows to nearly shrub-size portions.  Usually growing in singles, it is not very common and considered a good find!

Brown-eyed Susan,  Rudebeckia sp.
Brown-eyed Susans, Black eyed Susans, and myriad of sunflowers and prairie flowers can be maddenly similar.  This one is a standard garden plant that has been growing in my yard for years, but like many of our natives, it is carefree and requires no effort.  It also supplies long-lived table flowers for bouquets.

American Goldfinch with Gray-headed Coneflower, Ratibida pinnata

The "Wild Canary" is actually the American Goldfinch.  A feast for the eyes, these boisterous songsters travel in groups making their distinctive call, "Potato-chip, potato-chip potato-chip..."  Watch for them on prairies as they are exceedingly fond of Prairie Dock and cone flower seeds.

Cloudless Giant Sulphur,  Phoebis sennae 
 This yellow is mellow and living large for a sulphur butterfly.  Keep your eyes peeled for these southern migrants, they are showing up here and there.  This butterfly is more lemon colored and its flight is "loftier" than the other sulpurs.  It is always a special find.

Note the species name is sennae- for the Senna plant used as its host plant for its caterpillars.
Clouded Sulpurs, Colias philodice
Puddle party!  The sulphurs love to puddle and this clouded party was hosting a Soutern Dog-faced butterfly.  It is always worth checking for the oddities in a group.

Dainty Sulphur, Nathalis iole     photo by Su Snyder
One of our tiny southern butterflies (about 1/5 of the Giants' size) usually a mega rarity in Ohio, is becoming locally common!  This is the year to see Dainty Sulphurs and Little Yellows.  Sightings have popped-up though out our state- including  Adams County, Funk Bottoms Wildlife Area (south of Wooster) and as far north as the Oak Openings in the Toledo area.   

If you haven't seen them yet, this is the year to be hunting for the diminutive yellow flutter-bys!  They may well be more common in our future, if our weather continues to follow the models of climate change.

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