Skip to main content

Nature Notes

Learn how plants and wildlife respond to seasonal changes throughout the year.

Pollinator Week

Showy milkweed is in full bloom, attracting butterflies and bees. This black swallowtail butterfly is finding plenty of showy milkweed nectar. Once established showy milkweed is an attractive plant for the back of flower gardens and is a favorite food plant for monarch caterpillars.

Albino Common or Showy Milkweed

As in animals, albinism also occurs in plants, and is a genetic mutation resulting in the absence of chlorophyll. Since chlorophyll is an essential component of photosynthesis, the plant will eventually wither and die, but it is lovely while it lasts.

White-lined Sphinx Moth

There's been lots of late summer activity in KWEC's pollinator/butterfly garden this week. A white-lined sphinx moth nectars on Russian Sage. Hovering like a humming bird, they extend their tongue to sip flower nectar, during day and night hours.

Common Buckeye

This common buckeye butterfly was found sipping salts along a roadside during KWEC's North American Butterfly Association butterfly count held July 19. A tiny Melissa blue was one of four species of blues identified. A total of 25 species were identified, which is about average for species numbers.

Opossum Tracks

Campers in our Discover I and II camps set track tunnels out along our nature trail. They made a hypothesis as to what types of mammals might visit at night and baited with a variety of foods. Each entrance had non-toxic ink pads. An opossum enjoyed the soy butter, seeds, and cat food in this trap!

Giant Swallowtail

KWEC had a special visitor in the garden today - a giant swallowtail butterfly. An uncommon butterfly in our area, they stray from the south and can be found in eastern Kansas. Their caterpillars display bright red "stink horns" called osmeterium that repel ants.

Missouri Evening Primrose

KWEC's pollinator/wildflower garden is popping with color! Stop by and get some ideas for your native prairie wildflower garden. All of the wildflowers in KWEC's garden will thrive in our area of Kansas.