Kaw Valley Almanac
this week’s Almanac
Winter flocks have come together. Concentrated further with each snow storm we get chickadees, cardinals, bluejays, juncos, nuthatches and titmouse; give yourself a ringside seat by putting out a birdfeeder this winter.
These sweet coneflowers, Rudbeckia subtomentosa, attest to the ongoing unfolding of yellow perennial flowers which will increase in numbers well into September.
As July moves into August, many warm season grasses and wildflowers have shot up their seedheads, as captured in this sunset silhouette shot.
This colorful and dangerous looking wasp is the great gold digger wasp, Sphex ichneumoneus. It’s a rather harmless nectar eating wasp, as shown here on some rattlesnakemaster that is just beginning to bloom.
The compassplant shoots its stalks 6 or more feet into the air, and many insects, like this bumblebee, are loving it.
If you’re a gardener and see this caterpillar chomping down your dill, by all means let it eat as much as it wants because it will mature into a beautiful swallowtail butterfly.
This time of year it is not uncommon to have isolated storms that dump multiple inches of rain in isolated spots, but little to nothing elsewhere.
Sphinx moths are typically most active around dusk or even at night. This one was caught gathering nectar from the blossoms of the late-blooming Sullivant’s milkweed in broad daylight.
Butterfly milkweed is one of the most spectacular of the native milkweeds blooming now. There are nine butterfly species that eat the milkweed as caterpillars, then drink the nectar as adults, pollinating the flowers on the side.
Look closely and you’ll see a pair of great spangled fritillary butterflies and also a bumblebee. Milkweeds are pollinator magnets.
The hackberry butterfly can be found near many woodlands that contain hackberry trees right now. They are happy to sun themselves on your body!
Here is the wonderful zebra swallowtail, found in the eastern tier of counties in Kansas, including Douglas County where this photo was taken.
The large milkweed beetle is colorful for the same reason monarch butterflies are: to warn potential predators that their milkweed diet makes them poisonous and not worth eating.
Spiderwort is a perennial native wildflower that has started blooming in area prairies.
The incredible fuchsia pink of the prairie phlox wildflower is showing up in area prairies, joined by prairie violets, lingering creamy wild indigo, puccoons, verbena and many others on the verge of joining them.
”Parks and Rec is seriously downplaying the unlikelihood of the prairie (behind Prairie Park Nature Center) recovering after being so seriously damaged and depleted by this senseless act,” Ken Lassman writes in this column.