Posts Tagged ‘winged crownbeard’

A Cobweb Skipper

I usually go out two or three times a day to take pictures. This morning I just happened to be in the right place at the right time!

Wingstem, and its underground runners, have taken over most of my spring wildflower garden.

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My morning walk-about started with my spring wildflower garden.

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A little spread-winged skipper and

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a monarch butterfly both fed on the winged crownbeard.

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My mind kept saying “cobweb skipper,” even though I’d never seen one before.

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Well, my mind was right. It was a cobweb skipper.

I took ten pictures in two minutes before the skipper “skipped” away.

It gets even more exciting … I knew from past years of extensive butterfly watching, that the cobweb skipper (Hesperia metea) was not in our area.

Come to find out, it’s on the Illinois state endangered list. It’s only known as a permanent resident in an eastern county in the middle of the state along the Mississippi River. There used to be three locations near the one the Mississippi river too. It was first collected in Illinois in 1978.

I will report the sighting to a state heritage biologist and will be anxious to hear what he has to say.

What are the Odds!

I wonder what the odds are of walking around the weedpatch,

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  seeing a silvery checkerspot,

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and turning the corner and finding a pearl cresent?

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Silvery checkerspots are double-brooded, and the early ones lay their eggs on winged crownbeard.

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Pearl crescents lay their eggs on asters.

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I’m sure there’s plenty of asters growing in my weed patch for the pearl crescents. 

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Winged crownbeard and wingstem are “cousins. ” The crownbeard blooms later in the summer.



A SHORT Morning Hike

Buffy and I headed out early for a short hike because of the forecast for heat in the 90’s. Rain yesterday dramatically increased the humidity.  I drove through the country so I could take my time and enjoy the views.

Growth was high along the one-lane road into my place. Camp hadn’t been mowed, and I wasn’t about to wade out into that “thicket.” I realized real soon that mosquitoes were a problem, as were a few biting flies. Buffy wasn’t used to the heat. She kept eating greens and panting.

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This was view to the south of my pull-in.

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Winged crownbeard bloomed to the north.

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A wide patch of it used to grow in a low part of the barrens. I stood at the edge of it one time drawing. I stooped down to take a picture. The whole patch transformed into a wide patch of brillant yellow. An indigo bunting (a bright blue bird) landed on a flower stalk near the opposite side of the patch.

That was an important lesson for me. I stooped often for a different perspective after that.

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  A crab spider rested on the back flower of this daisy fleabane.

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These ox-eye daisies were past their prime and the stalks hung over.

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Deptford pink added the only pink of the morning.IMG_1216 crop red

A silvery checkerspot fed at this black-eyed susan. They lay eggs on the winged crownbeard.

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This mourning cloak butterfly basked in the sun. They are one of the butterfly species in our area (southern Illinois) that overwinter as adults.


 Not bad for 20 minutes of sweating and swatting.


Silvery Checkerspot

Interruptions are always welcome when I’m working in the yard or gardens. This morning’s interruption was 3 newly-emerged silvery checkerspot butterflies. Their 2 caterpillar host plants grow in my yard.

Silvery checkerspot butterfly on white-lace orlaya

Silvery checkerspots have 2 broods. The spring brood  flies from the middle of May though June in southern Illinois, and the fall brood flies late July through September. The spring brood lays their eggs on winged crownbeard (Verbenesina helianthoides) and wingstem (Verbesina alternifolia). The fall brood lays theirs on wingstem, because the winged crownbeard isn’t to appetizing that late. Winged crownbeard grows to 3 feet tall and wingstem to 5 feet and more. Both are perennials.

Silvery checkerspots  butterflies have 1 1/4 – 2 inch wingspan, and they overwinter as caterpillars.

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