Fall is starting to come on strong now, with more and more leaves on the ground and the underbrush slowly dying off. I love this time of year and the transformation all of the creatures of the forest undergo in preparation for the upcoming winter. But even though the summer is in decline, there are still a lot of wildflowers in the woods and meadows that thrive well into the fall season.
I like Great Blue Lobelia. The flower petals remind me of spring violets in both their shape and color and the bright blue blossoms stand out against the brown and dull green of late summer. And even though the woods have been dry as of late, they are still doing well and we'll probably see them for a while to come.
Tall Ironweed... as I've said before, one of my favorites. The purple flowers are such a deep color of purple, I have a hard time getting clear photos since they seem to almost glow from the deep hues of the purple. I've been seeing more and more Tall Ironweed too, so my earlier predictions about a bad year for Tall Ironweed may have been premature since they seem to peak in September.
This is the first time I've ever photographed a Cardinal Flower and I found this one down right along the stream. I read that Cardinal Flowers are closely related to Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica) and both were used by Native Americans to treat a variety of ailments. Interestingly, Great Blue Lobelia are pollinated by bees whereas Cardinal Flowers are typically pollinated by Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris).
I find the Asters interesting. There are quite a few species ranging from white petals through all the blues and purples, each having its own unique beauty. And Both New York and New England Asters are some of my favorite flowers.
New England Aster is very similar to New York Aster (Aster novi-belgii) but the petals on the flowers are narrower. I found both the New York and New England Aster up at the wildflower fields in the park, fairly close to each other.
I don't really know too many butterflies or moths, but when I was photographing this little guy on this Tall Ironweed blossom, I just assumed it was a moth. But as it turns out, it's actually a butterfly known as a Peck's Skipper. I see a lot of them around, but this is the first clear picture I've gotten. The black dot that looks like its eye is actually the end of one of its antenna.
Milkweed seed pods ooze a milky white substance that is toxic to most animals. As a matter of fact, Milkweed is the primary food source for Monarch butterfly caterpillars and what makes Monarchs poisonous to their prey. These pods contain thousands of seeds that will blow across the forest when they opens in a few weeks.
White Wood Aster, and all the Asters for that matter, are everywhere right now. This hardy little plant can be covered in blossoms and the different colors of the flowers really make it one of my favorites.