The Southeast Michigan August wildflower meadow dazzles us with an array of Knotweed, Monarda (Bee Balm), Flat Topped Aster, Goldenrod, Black Eyed Susan, Purple Coneflower and Queen Ann's Lace. With the bloom of these flowers, the dance of the Monarch, Great Spangled Frittilary and Spicebush Swallowtail begins in this part of Michigan. My favorite place to observe and enjoy butterflies is at Indian Springs Metropark in White Lake, Twp. This park is a 10 minute drive from my house, which makes it a frequent place for me to enjoy wildlife all year long.
With the weather warm and on a slightly windy day, I set out to find Monarchs and other butterfly species in the wildflower meadows at Indian Springs. I was truly delighted with what I found on my photo adventure for the day. The wildflower fields were in full bloom and were swaying in the balmy breezes. A perfect day for winged creatures to nourish from nature's wildflower harvest.
One of the first winged creatures to catch my eye was a Hummingbird Moth sampling from the Monarda. Soon I spotted a Monarch butterfly, a Viceroy, a Giant Swallowtail, and one of my favorites a Gold Spangled Fritillary made its appearance in the meadow. Along the edge was a Common Ringlet, Cabbage White, Clouded Sulphur, Silver Spotted Skipper and the elusive Black Swallowtail and a Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly. My quest that day was to see a Spicebush or a Black Swallowtail, and I was very pleased to find them on this perfect butterfly observing day in late August.
Everywhere I looked, I found a butterfly floating on the wind onto the next flower for a quick dash of nectar as if anticipating the change of season that will soon be upon this glorious field. My butterfly experience was shared with a woman named Doris, whom I met along the trail, she is from a local chapter of the Audubon Society. However, Doris, she was looking for butterflies and not so much for birds. She was doing a count of butterfly species. We exchanged pleasantries and decided to see if we could add to each other's tally for the day. Between the two of us, we found thirteen different species of butterflies. I helped her find some of the butterflies I spotted but not on her list, and she helped me find some of the butterflies I had not spotted. It was delightful experience to meet Doris and share our love of nature and butterflies together. We even found out we have a birding friend in common; isn't that a coincidence.
We also had another delightful experience together, we happened to have a close encounter with the resident Sandhill Cranes, but I will leave that for another post tomorrow. Doris had not seen a Sandhill Crane up close like that, so she was in awe of her encounter with the Sandhill Cranes.
Doris and I parted for our homes and I vowed to get in touch with her and become more active in the local chapter of the Audubon Society. I am the lone butterfly and birder amongst my friends, so having met someone new who enjoys the same pursuits as I do, is the greatest gift I found while out chasing butterflies and birds on this late August day in Michigan. Thanks Doris, you made my day.