I don’t know what this plant is but an assortment of butterflies and other insects were attracted to the puffy blooms.
The tufts from the flower heads made me think of thistle but the rest of the plant did not, with no sharp spines in sight.
This little yellow one was the smallest flying insect I saw. The bloom he picked had more of a purple tinge than the others, prettier or tastier perhaps.
The butterflies were all doing the same reaching into the tops of the flowers so they must have been getting something.
This patch was two to three feet deep (0.5 – 1 meter) and ran along the edge of a pond. I could not see over the top from the mowed lawn where I was standing; I resisted getting closer due to the potential for alligators to be hidden in the greenery.
Last summer the trees around this small pond had a dozen or more Little Blue Heron nests. This year not a single pair nested here, but a few come around to look, including this one who was having a tree top view.
Below he dropped down to some new debris in the water, part of some limbs that got tossed around during a severe storm last week. The pond has been cleared of invasive cattails and other reed vegetation and there is much speculation among regular human visitors here that it was too much change for the herons.
In recent years the dragonflies in our backyard have been nondescript, plain black models, at least as much as I had noticed. This past week we have had a steady procession of dragonflies of different sizes and colors zipping around the yard.
This one worked on some poses on a dried Crepe Myrtle seedpod.
The tide was almost low and the shallow inlet water was attracting a number of shore birds looking for a meal, including a few Black Skimmers. My view wasn’t great and some tall grass partially obstructed the action, but watching these gorgeous birds skim for food is fascinating.
The flying gull and wading Tricolored Heron paid no head to the speeding Skimmer.
The Skimmer made a practiced move of a quick look underneath and behind.
The Tricolored Heron was not giving up his spot.
Gracefully the Skimmer banked, skirted the heron and headed across the inlet.