Late April Flowers, Pollinators, and Other Insects

April 24th, 2024

What a wonderful time of the year! Each day brings new surprises. New flowers show their faces, and with them come different pollinators. More and more butterflies flutter around in the meadows of wildflowers. Yesterday, I saw my first monarch flying by. This is an early sighting, but it has been warm the last few days. As I stand in a field of flowering buttercups and grasses, all kinds of bees buzz past me. Standing quietly, I hear a low humming in the air as many bugs fly by. Some insects look like flies and have a particular way of lazily hanging their legs out as they fly. Upon looking them up with the iNaturalist app, I found that this species belongs to the genus Rhaphium.

At the end of one blade of grass, a click beetle in the family Elateridae was moving its antennae back and forth as though scanning the air for food. The antennae consist of beautiful black-and-white segments.

It surprised me how many small bees and butterflies were using the buttercups and the Baker’s meadowfoam (Limnanthes bakeri). Several common ringlet butterflies (Coenonympha tullia) landed on the buttercups. The Purple Camas (Camassia quamash) is beginning to bloom and hasmany bees flying around it.

In the oak and ash woodland, the large White Wakerobin (Trillium albidum) seemed to be at its peak of bloom, with hundreds of bright white flowers glowing in the shade of the tall grasses and trees beginning to leaf out. The North Coast semaphore grass (Pleuropogon hooverianus) is spectacular this time of year, reaching four feet tall and apple green with reddish-purple flowering heads. It has spread all over this woodland and out into the grassy meadows. Other plants are blooming, such as the small yellow flowers of the stream violet (Viola glabella) andMeadow Rue (Thalictrum fendleri), with its tiny purplish flowers. One of my favorites is the star-flowered lily-of-the-valley (Maianthemum stellatum) which looks a little like the eastern lily-of-the-valley.

Spring is not in full swing yet, so there will be more flowers to come, and I am looking forward to that!