Showy Milkweed in bloom – Nikon D810, f8, 1/2000, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
Most of the time when I post images from Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge they are photos I have taken of birds because usually that is why I head to the refuge, for the birds. There are more things to photograph at Bear River MBR than the birds I am so passionate about, there are also grand scenic views, the wildlife that inhabits the marshes, the insects and during this time of the year, the wildflowers too.
Two years ago today I photographed Double-crested Cormorants, American White Pelicans, Western Kingbirds, Black-necked Stilts, Western Grebes, American Avocets, Wilson’s Phalaropes, a lovely Short-eared Owl and these blooming Showy Milkweeds.
Showy Milkweeds are also known as showy butterfly weed, creek milkweed, Greek milkweed. These are perennial wildflowers that are native to the western half of the U.S. and parts of Canada and June is a great time to find them in bloom here in Utah. I saw some Showy Milkweed blooming four days ago in Box Elder County and now I am kicking myself for not stopping and taking photos of these beautiful pink wildflowers.
Showy Milkweeds are an important source of nectar for butterflies, especially Monarch Butterflies who not only use them as a nectar source but also use them for laying their eggs on and as a larval host. Hummingbirds also use these plants as a source of nectar.
The seed pods for Showy Milkweed remind me of the seeds pods for Common Milkweed which I was very familiar with seeing in the eastern U.S. when I have lived there. Seeds for this lovely wildflower are available commercially and if I could grow them I would because they could help Monarch Butterflies, a species that is currently in a steep decline and could face extinction. Imagining a world without Monarch Butterflies sickens me to my core, they need all the help they can get right now.
Life is good.