Young birds continue to adjust to their surroundings. Every morning we hear Northern Cardinals, chipping to keep in contact with their family. A female brought a black oil sunflower seed to this fledgling and then left it on its own to figure out how to get a drink.
With the cool front that came through, we received almost 2 inches of much needed rain. We've also seen an uptick on the numbers of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. These males looked kind of bedraggled as they are into their summer molt and getting new feathers. Young challengers are approaching the feeders and we often see two or more birds at a time.
The hummingbirds are seen early in the garden, hitting flowers like the Azure Sage (Salvia azurea) and the Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis).
I'm still keeping an eye on the chrysalis of the Eastern Black Swallowtail. It can't be much longer before the emergence of the butterfly!
I've seen female Monarchs on several different days in the garden, laying eggs on Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). They tuck their little treasures into the flower clusters, safely hidden. Many eggs are deposited on plants throughout the garden; the effort takes most of the sunny hours of a day.
A female Spicebush Swallowtail was nectaring at Salvia Black and Blue (Salvia guaranitica x Black and Blue). This looked to be a very fresh butterfly.
In between feeding, the swallowtail rested on plants like Coral Trumped Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens).
The Monarchs also need time to feed and rest. Sometimes, they are more difficult to find in prime habitat. By blending in, they can protect themselves and their offspring.
Those hot and hazy days have returned and the garden is waning but still productive in August! Sweet Coneflowers (Rudbeckia submentosum) abound, attracting small pollinators.
If you look carefully, you'll find lightning bugs asleep among them. The cut flowers will last 10 days or more if you choose to bring some inside!
This morning, I found a new butterfly species for us, a rare Red-banded Hairstreak. It is such a joy to discover new creatures finding our sanctuary.
Enjoy summer's bounty!