Saturday, October 15, 2022

May I Introduce Something Often Overlooked

The world is full of plants that we drive by or walk by and ignore, overlook, or fail to see because they are common, unattractive, or weedy.  My shoreline is dotted with Baccharis halimifolia, a native of eastern North America.  Common names are groundsel, sea myrtle, and saltbush.  You can guess that it likes salty soil.  It is a member of the huge aster family.

It flowers in the fall and is dioecious which means it has male and female flowers on separate plants.  It is found in ditches and in salt marshes and along shorelines and because of its abundance, often overlooked.

This shrub provides food for over a dozen species of moths as well as other pollinators.

The flowers that bloom in the fall are long white paintbrushes that glow in the reflected sun and then burst into long-legged white spiders and sail across the air to form new plants.  Depending on the wind they can fly a good long way.  While it is native to my backyard, it can be considered invasive in other parts of the globe.

It is usually only noticed in autumn when the bush looks like a snow-topped shrub against the autumn colors.

And below, I actually managed to catch a few wind-born seeds using a long-range lens from my deck!!  Pat me on the back.

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Small Friends and Even Smaller Acquaintances

Our week has been all rain and much cooler weather (think Ireland) with the collision of Ian and a cold front from the north. This made me wish for spring or sun or something alive outside and not wet and bedraggled. So I will share some insect photos from last April and May. I hope they bring some beauty into your day whether you need that or not. The first one has been manipulated like an acrylic painting, of course.

One of the very earliest of butterflies.  Clearly arrived after a long struggle.  Early April.
Saw these on the walls of my house in early spring and while they look like ants, they are not.

They are praying mantis.  I had forgotten I brought in an egg case inside as a keepsake and it was lying dormant on my bookshelf until spring!  Many people love praying mantis, but they are equal-opportunity dieters, eating both good and bad insects.  I took them outside in small groups by scooping them up on pieces of paper.

Such lovely early spring arrivals and I am looking forward to spring already!  How will I make it through the winter?

Sunday, October 02, 2022

Review of the Trip with Some Imagination

I was running a mild temperature when I took most of the photos below, so focus and composition can really be off. Just remember that I did not realize I was sick at the time. Below are the only real elk that we saw. They were young ones avoiding the rut on the hill up the road.
You can see from the collars that the herd is monitored closely. There is a hunting season that allows the killing of elk with strict limits and regulations. 

Above is one of the meadows that provide a view of where the elk males leave the cover of the woods to fight with each other and begin their fall harem.   We saw nothing but the familiar and beautiful goldenrod.


We did take a small hike the following day and saw some  more fall color and a small wide lake area where boats awaited the weekend fishermen and fisher women.  

And the ancient spirits of former elk still haunted us.

It is a lovely and vast area and we just touched a small portion and will return in the future with better focus and energy.