Wherever you look on the trails currently, there is a frenzy of creatures fueling, and late summer flowers being used as fuel. Fall warblers, which are notoriously difficult to identify, are migrating through and using places like the Center as stopover habitat to fuel and continue on their long journeys. The Blackpoll Warbler migrates up to 7000 miles EACH WAY. Other warblers like the Chestnut-sided Warbler (pictured above) and the Tennessee Warbler (pictured further down) travel closer to 3500 miles each way to their overwintering grounds. But even so, these are substantial distances that require some serious fuel. Monarch Butterflies are also embarking on their long migration back to Mexico. They have been observed in large numbers all around the Center this week, taking advantage of the many prairie plants that are in bloom. Visit this week to see the frenzy for yourself!
A Chestnut-sided Warbler in fall plumage fueling in goldenrod. While Chestnut-sided Warblers mainly eat insects, seeds make up a small part of their diet, and is what this bird was feeding on.
Tennesee Warbler in fall plumage, looks markedly different than its spring/breeding plumage.
American Redstart taking off from a patch of goldenrod.
Black-and-white Warbler foraging for insects on trees.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird resting for a moment before finding more nectar for its journey to Central America.
American Lady on Ironweed.
Fiery Skipper on a Black-eyed Susan.
Cream Gentian in the West Meadows.
Bottle Gentian right off of the Gateway Trail.
Ironweed with Black-eyed Susan in the background.
Monarch Butterfly with its proboscis extended, gathering nectar from the Ironweed.