Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)
The sweet and shaggy month of August is almost over, and these last golden days are something to be cherished.
As in other years, whole forests of clover are in bloom here, and waist high stands of Goldenrod and Queen Anne's Lace in the highlands buzz with intoxicated bumblebees. Many a wildflower wears a fritillary crown.
We haunt our fields looking for Monarch butterflies and their offspring, hoping to find gloriously striped children arrayed like royalty and clinging to the underside of milkweed leaves. There has been only a single Monarch butterfly in the air over the Two Hundred Acre Wood in the last week or two, but we will continue to look for them at every opportunity.
In the field below the big hill, last year's milkweed pods drape themselves across their younger kin with insouciance or lean against the old rail fence like weary travelers. I never tire of looking at their thousand and one textures and the muted variegation of their earthy hues. Who knew that gray and brown came in so many delightful shades?
Yesterday, two female wild turkeys crossed the lane in front of us in late afternoon. They shepherded their unruly offspring before them like little brown sheep, administered a gentle peck here and a nudge there to keep their inquisitive (and garrulous) children moving along. The two families jogged along at a fine rate, and their appearance was so unexpected that I didn't have a chance to snap a photo.