Monday, August 15, 2011

Yellow Flowers and Yellow Birds

As you recall, I was feeling blue and complaining about the flowers starting to die off in my last entry. Well, this morning the prairie shouted a late summer reminder to me.

Good grief how did I forget about the Sweet Coneflower (Rudbeckia subtomentosa)?

This beauty is in the Asteraceae family and the same genus as the Black-eyed Susan, Brown-eyed Susan as well as the Rough Coneflower, and Orange Coneflower. The Sweet Coneflowers bloom July - October. But I think their bloom time was delayed a bit due to our dry summer. However the day of rain last week was all it took to coax the flowers to open up. These flowers are also very fragrant and they permeated the air with their sweet smell.

And while the Common Yellowthroats and most of the Indigo Buntings are gone, the sweet chatter of the American Goldfinches was yet another reminder that not every bird leaves once the summer is nearly over.

The American Goldfinches breed later in the summer than the other birds. They time their nesting cycle to the blooming of milkweed, thistle, coneflowers and a few other plants. They use these plants for nesting material and feed the seed to their young. I've seen many a goldfinch on my Purple Coneflower and Sweet Coneflower eating the seeds, not to mention witnessing the same spectacle on the prairie.

Today reminded me that the transition from late summer to early fall is filled with its own beauty and I just need to keep my senses open to the changing seasons.

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