Prairie Companions September 18, 2007
A family trip to Marion, Ohio gave the perfect opportunity to visit the Claridon Prairie again. It is a small strip of land that managed to avoid the plow since the European settlement of Ohio.
Prairies are constantly changing week to week, month to month. The early summer hues of blue Tradescantia give way to the pinks of summer, Echinacea and Liatris. Fall brings on the golden tones of sunflowers and goldenrod.
Today's prairie was all sunshine and gold tones. The Prairie Dock, Silphium terebinthinaceum was totally spent, but Giant Sunflower, Helianthus giganteus was performing admirably and providing nectar for clouds of sulphurs.
There has been a lot of talk among butterfly folk about a Southern Dogface invasion this year. This is another southern species that enlivens our state diversity on occasion. This butterfly gave me a bit of hope, as its dark markings were pronounced. But the photo proves it to be a darkly marked female Orange Sulphur. It is virtually impossible to get a great view of the fast flying sulphurs, and they always perch with their wings closed.
The telling tale is the forewing shape. Southern Dogfaces have pointed forewing tips, and tonight's feature has clearly rounded ones. So be watching those yellow and orange butterflies; you might find one of those southern specialities.