Many of the sites I've visited don't have a lot of prairie grasses, but lots of forbs (wildflowers) which are attractive although in a healthy prairie, should make up only about 30%-40% of the total vegetation, not the 75-80% it seems that most newly planted prairies are made up of. There is a whole topic for a future post on prairie ecology there, to be sure, but that isn't the intent of this post....maybe a future one.
At this time of year, some of the most showy prairie wildflowers are:
Some of these plants are more preferred as nectaring plants than others. But they are all part of the prairie vegetation, and are great to see.
Most of the butterflies I was able to track down are not specific to prairies but were certainly enjoying what the prairie wildflowers had to offer. This Painted Lady was visiting a clump of Mountain-mint.
Common Wood-Nymphs are common to some degree, but they are most often seen flitting briskly over and through the vegetation. When they do land for a short time, they are often partially obscured and challenging to photograph.
A butterfly I don't see often is this next one: Common Sootywing. Being as small (about 21-27mm or about one inch) and as skittish as it is, it isn't often seen by anyone I expect. I only managed to get a couple of distant shots, and this one is greatly cropped.
While it isn't a prairie site, the Reid Conservation Area north of Wallaceburg is a great spot for butterflies. I managed to catch up to a few Banded Hairstreaks earlier, but missed the Oak Hairstreak the site is known for. Apparently it wasn't a good year for the Oaks. Just yesterday I stopped by again, and saw several species, including Great Spangled Fritillary, Eastern Comma and a Least Skipper, among others.
There are always lots of other things to be on the lookout for, especially when there is a lull in butterfly action. On some occasions I have seen lots more dragonflies than butterflies. It has been a good year for both of these next two species.
|Pennant pair in wheel|
Just to add a little more diversity to this post, I will include a photo of a Green Frog, one of the more common frog species of southern Ontario. I found several cooling off in a puddle near a prairie.