This month Zinnias have been reblooming quickly after each cutting. I trimmed all that were open on Saturday and by Tuesday the next bouquet was proudly waiting to be picked.
Running into the garden between rain storms to gather more colorful flowers, I quickly became distracted by the birds and insects enjoying the garden on this last day of July.
Some visitors, especially birds such as Hummingbirds and American Goldfinches are difficult for me to photograph (hummingbirds too fast and goldfinches too shy). Swallowtails have refused to pose this summer. But now that I have learned to identify Silver-spotted Skippers it is fun to encounter them frequently around the zinnias.
I think these are Fiery Skippers. They are quite numerous and happy to feast on the zinnias.
An Ocola Skipper, the long-winged skipper, found the zinnias also.
I liked this picture with all three of the skippers. Everyone is gathered ’round.
Skippers also were drawn to Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower).
The rudbeckia is apparently also a satisfactory nectaring station for this Ocola Skipper.
It took me a while to identify this wasp, but isn’t it amazing to have resources available. Searching the web I finally found a match and decided this is Double-banded Scoliid (Scolia bicincta). I posted a couple of the images this evening on iNaturalist and within 12 minutes someone had confirmed my identification.
It is a striking black and white insect. Wings are iridescent blue-black. I read it is beneficial in the garden.
Recent storms have battered down a few plants, but cleome in the meditation circle has easily managed to stand tall.
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ blooms sporadically and sparsely now. It likes the rain so perhaps will be encouraged to flower more generously. Hummingbirds visit it regularly.
What will August bring? I hope the zinnias continue to thrive.
I leave you with one more creature from the garden. I saw this dragonfly mid-afternoon, July 26, 2018. Its body appeared golden metallic. Amazingly beautiful.
Just got confirmation tonight on iNaturalist that the dragonfly is Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera).
This post took so long to write the month changed. Happy August.
These are all beautiful shots, but the last photo is amazing. 🙂
Thanks Judy. I couldn’t believe that dragonfly!
It’s be worth growing zinnias for the insects they draw to the garden even if the flowers weren’t pretty. I’m seeing more butterflies here every day, mostly Gulf Fritillaries, but never when I have my camera of course.
Yes it would Kris. Monarchs usually come to the zinnias too, later. I’d love to see the gulf fritillaries.
You have a lot of cute little skippers in your garden! I’ve been doing quite a few butterfly surveys this summer, and I’m always happy to see a few Silver-Spotted Skippers in the mix. So cute! The Zinnias are performing well in my garden, too. Thanks for the reminder to pick more–they really do benefit from lots of cutting. 🙂
Thanks Beth. Never used to pay attention to the skippers, always waiting for the flashier butterflies, but they are interesting to me now.
You know your pollinators! Great post. Thanks for identifying all those skippers, those photos must have been challenging to get. I have never seen a Scollid wasp that I know of. Or the little dragonfly.
Happy August Susie! You got some lovely shots of the skippers and other insects. It seems the weather has been kind to your garden so far with frequent showers.