A Nice Summer Day

We had a really nice day today–warm but not too hot.  I took advantage and visited Big Creek Park near one of the backwater areas.  Swamp milkweed was in bloom and attracting lots of visitors.

This unusual fly is common enough that I have seen it before.  It is a thick-headed fly, Physocephala tibialis.

Swamp milkweed is one of our most spectacular wild flowers.  It blooms a few weeks after common and butterfly milkweed.  It seems to me that it attracts large butterflies, but does not attract the smaller hairstreaks and skippers as well as common or butterfly milkweed.  It does, however, attract a large number of other pollinators, including wasps, bees, flies, and moths.

This is the northern paper wasp, Polites fuscutus.

This is the large, spectacular eastern cicada killer, Sphecius speciosus.

This is the thick-legged hoverfly, Syritta pipiens.

Not everything was on the swamp milkweed.

This was a blue-fronted dancer.  It was quite spectacular in the bright sunlight.

This is a viceroy, a fairly common monarch mimic.

Speaking of monarchs, swamp milkweed is also a host plant for monarchs.  This caterpillar is getting quite fat.

I still struggle with bumblebee identification.  I think this is the brown-belted bumblebee, Bombus griseocollis.

This moth looks and flies like a bee.  It is the snowberry clearwing, Hemaris diffinis.

In addition the the spectacular beauty of the swamp milkweed and its visitors, the flowers have a hypnotically sweet scent that just has to be experienced.


About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
This entry was posted in butterflies, damselflies, insects, invertebrates, plants, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Nice Summer Day

  1. Stephanie Hazen says:

    Wonderful photos! We grow swamp milkweed in our yard in Salem Or. My favorite. I can send you a cheat sheet on identification of bumble bees.

  2. Thanks. Is there a link to it somewhere?

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