Tamarack Hollow Nature & Cultural Center, Windsor
Celebrate National Moth Week and join moth specialist Betsy Higgins with insect enthusiast Jason Crockwell and Tamarack Hollow staff in identifying and learning about nighttime pollinators, insects and moths! We will also have a campfire with marshmallows and moth stories to share! $10 fee (youth 12 and under + Windsor residents FREE!). Thanks to support from the Wild & Scenic Westfield River Committee and the Berkshire Taconic Fund’s Central Berkshire grant. Email email@example.com to register, space is limited! More info on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/223746404874323/
Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly
This species of butterfly LOVES milkweed nectar, and has a long tubular tongue (or proboscis) that allows it to reach deep into the flowers’ throats to sip the nectar. Soon after hatching, the fritillary’s larva hibernate. When they emerge the following spring, they feed at night, and exclusively on violets. —PC
Partridgeberry - Mitchella repens
At this time of year it’s possible to find partridgeberry in flower, as well as setting fruit (in the form of stunning red “berries”). This evergreen, non-climbing woody vine with twin, hairy white flowers can be found in woods, along stream banks and on sandy slopes. Each of the twin flowers is structured in a way that prevents self-pollination, meaning that the plant relies on insects to do the job. Ruffed grouse (once commonly known as partridges—-hence the plant’s nickname) feed on the berries, as do deer, foxes, raccoons and northern bobwhites. - PC
Tamarack Hollow Nature and Cultural Center
Come learn woodland flora and ferns with naturalist Aimee Gelinas, Director of Tamarack Hollow. $10pp / Register at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more info, visit our website at www.tamarackhollownatureandculturalcenter.org. Supported by the Berkshire Environmental Endowment & Central Berkshire Funds.
Bascom Lodge & Mt Greylock Summit
Please email email@example.com for more information. This event is free of charge thanks to a Northern Berkshire Cultural Council grant, however donations would be appreciated.
“Puddling” Eastern Tiger Swallowtails
The butterflies in this photo are engaging in a common behavior known as mud-puddling, or simply puddling, in which they gather on wet matter, whether it be soil, rotting vegetation, scat, carrion, or even blood. Mud puddles are a common hot spot. If you live on a dirt road, it’s likely you’ve seen this behavior before. The butterflies are after nutrients like salts and amino acids. In certain species of butterfly, this behavior is more common in males. During mating, these males transfer the gathered nutrients to females to ensure an increased survival rate of her eggs. —PC
Common Yarrow - Achillea millefolium
It’s very likely you’ve noticed this plant growing here and there in Windsor, most often in open fields. Yarrow offers an abundant source of nectar for our local pollinators, and its flat clustered flower-head makes a perfect landing pad to accommodate a crowd for a virtual pollination fest. Long used as a remedy for a host of ailments (including, way back in the day, repelling witches and demons), a compound of yarrow is currently used to treat certain Staph infections and even viral hepatitis. The scent of its leaves, especially when crushed, definitely has a medicinal quality to it. —PC
Common Chicory - Cichorium intybus
This humble little beauty prefers poor soils, which explains why you’re more likely to find it growing in ditches, underneath guardrails, and alongside our country dirt roads. What appears to be one blossom is actually a large cluster of flat blossoms, known as ray florets. Chicory is in the Aster family, just like its cousin, the dandelion. It’s highly attractive to pollinators, especially honeybees, leaf-cutting bees, and ground nesting bees. —PC
Windsor Historical Museum Grounds
Shop local and enjoy goods made and grown right here in Windsor! The museum will be open for touring as well. Plans are underway for another market on Sunday, August 12. For more information or to set up a booth, contact Jordan Koch at 413-464-1569.
Primrose Moth on Evening Primrose
Believe it or not, some flowers are closed during the day and open only in the evening. Such flowers are often light in color, making them more visible to moths, our nighttime pollinators. A local example is the Evening Primrose, which, as you can see in this photo, has attracted a Primrose Moth. This stunning moth is simultaneously (and inadvertently) pollinating the primrose while obtaining nectar from one of its favorite sources. This flower can most commonly be found along roadsides and in fields. —PC
Common Milkweed - Asclepias syriaca
So much can be said about milkweed! Here’s one important thing: it’s not wind-pollinated, which means it needs to rely on insect pollinators to ensure a sufficient production of seeds. Thanks to nature’s brilliant “design,” milkweed has an abundance of nectar and a very alluring scent, both of which are highly attractive to pollinators. While I don’t qualify as a pollinator, I understand their impulse: whenever the milkweed’s in bloom, I go out of my way to catch a good, long whiff. —PC
Insect pollinators see colors differently than we do because they are sensitive to ultraviolet (UV) light, which makes the reproductive areas of some flowers stand out. To human eyes a buttercup appears as a uniform yellow, but to a bee’s eyes the flowers center (where the reproductive structures are) is darker because it reflects UV light. —from Mary Holland’s Naturally Curious
The caterpillars of these butterflies like to feed on the woody plant Spicebush, hence their name. One of many butterflies that has eyes along its back to confuse predators, it is most often found in open woodlands, and near the wooded edges of fields and meadows during two periods of the summer: from mid May through late June and early July through late August. Their caterpillar form is magnificent. —Patty Crane
Common Eastern Bumblebee (Bombus)
These social bees are squat, fuzzy, and yellow and black. Their nest site is typically on or under ground. Their workers, which hatch early, gather nectar and pollen, make honey, and tend to the nest and young. Late summer, drones and queens hatch and mate. Most of colony dies off once the weather turns cold, but the queens tuck into the leaf litter to overwinter.
So much can be said about this striking and impressive butterfly. They’re one of the few insects capable of making trans-Atlantic crossings, and have the ability to travel between 50-100 miles per day. Monarchs only lay their eggs on milkweed leaves, as that’s the only plant their larva will eat. This is why it’s so important to ensure the health of Windsor’s milkweed crop. Cool fact: the poisonous milkweed concentrates in the caterpillar’s body so that predators avoid eating them. —Patty Crane