Tag Archives: Quaker Ladies

BEAUTIFUL GOLDEN FEATHERS OF THE NORTHERN FLICKER

BLUETS AND NORTHERN FLICKER – A FAVORITE BIRD AND WILDFLOWER PHOTOGRAPHED TOGETHER!

A chance moment with the elusive male Northern Flicker and a patch of Bluets.

I stopped to take a photo of the Bluets and the Flicker flew onto the scene. My lucky day!

Northern Flickers are a large species of woodpecker. The Northern Flicker found in the eastern half of the country has shafts of yellow on their flight feathers. I would have set my shutter speed for a fast action capture if there had been time but it was only half a minute that he stayed scrounging at the base of the Bluets.

Even though the flying photos are out of focus, you can see the beautiful yellow shafts as the bird takes flight.

Bluets are a lovely native wildflower native to the eastern portion of North America.  The Bluet’s tiny florets range in color from almost white to a dreamy azure blue. Also called Quaker Ladies, the little bunches “quake” in the seasonal breeze! The sweet petite blossoms attract Little Carpenter Bees, Green Metallic Bees, small butterflies, and the Meadow Fritillary Butterfly (Boloria bellona). Both nectar and pollen are the pollinator’s floral reward!

Both the male and female eastern Northern Flicker have the v-shaped red feather patterning. The female lacks the black whisker, visible in the upper photos.

 

Butterfly Blue

One of the teeniest butterflies you’ll see at this time of year is the Spring Azure, with a wing to wing span of less than one inch. Found in meadows, fields, gardens, and along the forest edge, the celestial blue flakes pause to drink nectar from clover, Quaker Ladies, crabapples, dandelions, and whatever tiny floret strikes her fancy.

You can find the Azures flitting about Crabapple blossoms.

Native wildflowers Quaker Ladies, also called Bluets, are an early season source of nectar for Azures.

If you’d like to attract these spring beauties to your garden, plant native flowering dogwood * (Cornus florida), blueberries, and viburnums; all three are caterpillar food plants of the beautiful Spring Azure Butterfly.

The female butterfly curls her abdomen around in a C-shape and deposits eggs amongst the yellow florets of the flowering dogwood. Pink or white, both are equally attractive to the Spring Azure.

Cornus florida ‘rubra’

*Only our native flowering dogwood, Cornus florida, is a caterpillar food plant for Azure butterflies. Don’t bother substituting the non-native Korean Dogwood, it won’t help the pollinators.

Native Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) at Willowdale Estate Butterfly Garden

BLUETS IN BLOOM, OR QUAKING QUAKER LADIES

Blue bird nesting box Azure Bluets, Quaker Ladies, Houstonia caerulea Field ©Kim Smith 2014Bluebird Nesting Box and Bluets

At this time of year, when you pass by a field with patches of white, stop and have a closer look. The Bluet’s tiny florets are actually a dreamy azure blue; the little bunches also “quake” in the seasonal breeze! Also called Quaker Ladies, the sweet petite blossoms attract Little Carpenter bees, Green Metallic bees, small butterflies, and the Meadow Fritillary Butterfly (Boloria bellona). Both nectar and pollen are the pollinator’s floral reward!

Azure Bluets, Quaker Ladies, Houstonia caerulea -2 ©Kim Smith 2014Azure Bluets (Houstonia caerulea)

Azure Bluets, Quaker Ladies, Houstonia caerulea ©Kim Smith 2014Ipswich River Canoers and Bluets at Willowdale Estate