Seeing double and eating flowers

Thirty-six hours after I saw “my” bear, as the evening fell, there crossing our meadow were TWO bears.


I think they were a mother and a yearling. My camera battery went flat, so my photos were all fuzzy, but at least I can prove my sighting! The cubs stay with their mothers for up to two years. And at this time of year fresh grass and flowers (especially dandelions) are a crucial part of their diet. “In spring, bears feed on willow catkins, grasses, dandelions, clover, and aspen leaves. Leaves and flowers are preferred when they are highest in protein content (shortly after leaf burst or flowering), before the cell walls build up lignin and cellulose and become more difficult to digest.” from

North American Black Bear

To counter-balance the enormity of a duo of black bears, here is another favorite food flower for a much smaller creature.

The Fringed Polygala is a woodland plant, and has the charming vernacular name Gaywings.

Fringes polygala

This enticing 3/4″ long flower seems to be a favorite of the Eastern Swallowtail butterfly. This one ignored starflowers and mayflowers and Canada dogwood (bunchberries), and flitted from polygala to polygala,

Eastern Swallowtail on Fringes Polygala

inserting its curved tongue with precision into the heart of the tiny flower.

Eastern Swallowtail on Fringes Polygala

and sometimes almost getting its head in too:

Eastern Swallowtail on Fringes Polygala

Seductive things, flowers.

4 thoughts on “Seeing double and eating flowers”

  1. Such inspiring beauty! I see an occasional monarch butterfly this time of year and it always cheers me as I hear the doom and gloom of dwindling numbers here in California. I wonder if I am seeing a swallowtail rather than a monarch. They move fast but I should study the difference.


  2. Were you relaxing in your chair outside when you saw your bear duo? I didn’t know they like to eat dandy lions. Lovely flowers, I’m not familiar with those. Saw ‘my’ first Tiger Swallow tail 14 days ago (I write down ‘stuff’ like that). No Monarchs, yet, but have lots of Milkweed, so, soon I think! Certainly fun to have your camera handy!


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