In the lull between summer’s peak and fall’s color arrival, things are on the quiet side at the Highlands Biological Station as the gardens make their transition from summer blooms to autumn vibrancy. But for those who know where to look, a world of change and color waits ripe for discovery.
That’s the world of pollinators — the army of butterflies, bees, moths, flies and wasps whose diet of nectar keeps flowers flowering.
It’s one of those summer days that’s so hot and humid it’s impossible to walk even two steps without sweating, and inside the butterfly house the air is even heavier, thick as a tropical rainforest.
But, for the butterflies, it’s perfect.
The monarch butterfly is known for its amazing annual spring and fall migration — from wintering grounds in Mexico in the spring northward across North America then reversing in fall and returning to Mexico, a trip of more than 2,000 miles (one way) for many of these hardy bugs. This migration is a biological mystery.