A Day in the Life… Part 32

*’Tired Tom’ is pretty swamped, so I will be taking over the blog for the next couple weeks.*

A new plant in bloom is Ironweed, a favorite nectar plant for butterflies.

As bright as the flowers are, you would never expect the pollen to be white! This time of year we often see bees entering the observation hive inside the Nature Center with plenty of white pollen attached to the corbiculaes, or pollen baskets, on their hind legs. As seen in the video below… 

A single bee can carry around half of her weight in pollen, collected on a single excursion. Honey bees usually only visit one type of flower on each trip, this is one of nature’s ways of ensuring that plants are cross pollinated. 
Bees are not the only ones that enjoy the Ironweed. It is also a favorite of many butterflies, such as this Tiger Swallowtail.  
Speaking of butterflies, earlier this week I witnessed a Monarch butterfly necturing and laying eggs on some Common Milkweed. Later on, I went back to collect the eggs.

 So far, two of the caterpillars have hatched, and are happily munching on some milkweed. Can you find them in this photo? They are (very, very, very) tiny!

If you need some help, look near the holes in the leaf. This is where the Monarch caterpillars have already chomped their way through to the other side!  
And finally, here is a newly emerged Spring Peeper that I just released today. You can still see the remains of a long tail from when it was a tadpole. 
Posted by Nora

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