Thursday, June 30, 2022

Reflecting


June 15




Paddling, reflecting

Paradise all around me

Idyllic wetlands



June 24



.




Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Monday, June 27, 2022

Arachnid


Whilst out removing tangled fishing line from trees overhanging the lake today (wildlife hazard), I was lucky enough to get close to this fishing spider.




Sunday, June 26, 2022

NOT OKAY


What part of taking away people's rights to make decisions for themselves is okay?


From the TV series The Handmaid's Tale

The supreme court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade is going backwards to the Middle Ages! Before christianity, most cultures had their own way of ending a pregnancy, using abortifacients such as herbal infusions (e.g. pennyroyal and silphium), teas, pessaries or deliberate, heavy manual labor. It's not new. It's an individual's choice, not a societally prescribed ruling. 

What's the point of giving the supreme court sovereignty to establish the laws of the land and constitutional rights if it's there to be revoked?

I'm really struggling with this maniacal, patriarchal turn our country's taking. It's scary. Where will it end?


Saturday, June 25, 2022

Fragrant Waterlily

I always think of an egg when I look at the yellow center of these fragrant waterlilies, Nymphaea odorata



Magnificent! Paddling through them is a feast for the senses.

 

Friday, June 24, 2022

Magnificent Mayfly

 

This beauty spent the day against the glass of my sliding door, so I was able to take pics of it from all sides - lucky me!


Its common name is the giant mayfly, widespread in, and native to, the United States. Their larvae eat mosquitoes. This is its underside:


These insects are bioindicators: gauges of ecosystem health; they cannot tolerate polluted/poor waters.

This individual was stationary (and not dead) the entire day on a vertical sheet of glass, and I was able to get right up close to its wings without it startling.





Thursday, June 23, 2022

Toxic Beauty

This is a new native wetland plant for me. I'm so excited! It's the creeping buttercup, probably Ranunculus reptans, found growing on a stump on a kayaking expedition.


It's a tiny plant, easily overlooked - maybe just as well, since all parts are considered toxic if ingested. Apparently touching it also causes unstable ranunculin in the plant to turn into an oily toxin, so the sap may cause contact dermatitis.

According to Wikipedia it has some adaptation to rain pollination, of which I know nothing, except to guess that rain helps spread the pollen? There isn't much scientific evidence of this being the case.





Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Alarmed


My beloved muskrat was alarmed at seeing me so close to its den and kept swimming in circles to observe me, raising itself high out of the water to suss out the intruder - I retreated as soon as I could.








Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Rushed

 

A delightful new wetland species for me - common rush (Juncus effusus), I believe, that has been growing right under my nose near my dock. It's food for my beloved muskrat. 

It has delightful little bursts of white flowers halfway up its length



The flowers look like small dots when you view the entire plant



Monday, June 20, 2022

Bog Jewel


What a beauty I was greeted with on my recent paddle into our wetlands. These rose pogonias (Pogonia ophioglossoides)were blooming along all the swampy, sphagnum moss edges - stunning. 


They seemingly 'disappear' after the flowers are done. They are a native bog species, and unlike many orchids, they're fragrant, as noticed by Robert Frost, in 1913.

Rose Pogonias by Robert Frost

A saturated meadow,
 Sun-shaped and jewel-small, 
A circle scarcely wider
 Than the trees around were tall;
Where winds were quite excluded, 
 And the air was stifling sweet
With the breath of many flowers,
 — A temple of the heat. 

There we bowed us in the burning, 
 As the sun’s right worship is,
To pick where none could miss them 
 A thousand orchises;
For though the grass was scattered, 
 Yet every second spear
Seemed tipped with wings of color, 
 That tinged the atmosphere. 

We raised a simple prayer 
 Before we left the spot, 
That in the general mowing
 That place might be forgot; 
Or if not all is favoured,
 Obtain such grace of hours, 
That none should mow the grass there
 While so confused with flowers.


Sunday, June 19, 2022

Junteenth

The official emancipation of slaves on this date, June 19 1885, came just over 100 years after America declared independence from Britain, in which our nation vowed to ensure that all its citizens were "equally free and independent"! Why did it take so long for slaves to be freed?



And then it took another 135 years before we acknowledged and recognized this SECOND day of Independence for citizens of our country?



Saturday, June 18, 2022

Le Matin

The morning freshness

A time to cherish, not miss,

Each day starts anew.




Friday, June 17, 2022

Rescue or Disturbance?

I rescued this mayfly from the water - it seemed as if it had got its wings wet and was unable to fly off.

It looks as if it might be Ephemerella subvaria, also known as the Hendrickson mayfly or red quill. I loved the distinct banding pattern on the abdomen.


Later I wondered if maybe I'd disturbed an egg laying female, not a drowning one. Eek!



Thursday, June 16, 2022

Pollen-Nation

Lots of pine pollen this year, creating a thick yellow skin on the water's surface.





It was interesting to see pollen outlining some of the leaf edges too, even beneath the surface!



Fern pondweed (Potamogeton robbinsii)

Amazing! Even the milfoil looks pretty when coated with it!






Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Anthecology



How did I not know this word before? It seems to be self-explanatory now that I've read about it ... 

the study of (or fascination with) the relationship between flowering plants and insects - AKA pollination biology. DUH!



It seems to be what I immerse myself in every day! I guess I could say I'm an amateur anthecologist.




Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Oak Adoration

One of our most prolific insect-supporting (and hence songbird-supporting) trees: white oak


White oak, Quercus alba


Doug Tallamy's books on native plants and insects (Bringing Nature Home, and Nature's Best Hope) emphasize the importance of oaks in our woods and yards. They provide food and habitat for "537 species of butterfly and moth caterpillars" - isn't that phenomenal? What a legacy!

The incredible follow-up to the white oak sustaining so many insects, Prof. Tallamy explains, is that these become the food "for 95% of all our young songbirds." And our bird populations have been declining in North America, to the order of 29% (Birdlife decline) since the 1970's. We're losing tons of breeding individuals. We're talking about a drop in abundance, not individual species, which can ultimately affect the intricate functioning of an ecosystem. That's mind-blowingly scary.

Start with a white oak - plant one! Or alternatively, don't fell one!

This is a great informative read:

Time to get off my soap-box before I start crying ...

Monday, June 13, 2022

Anniversary

 

Today marks 2 years since I started my blog, most of it written as a daily post. It's been SO much fun, and has encouraged me to document interesting things and thoughts, with pictures and words. It's provided a purpose to my writing, living and learning.



It's a crazy, mixed bag of plant posts, silly ideas with words, wildlife, politics, photos, poems, some memories, food, cats, ecology and opinions.

It gives me an opportunity to reflect on things about the world around me. And it keeps me writing, and hence thinking, even when there are only a few sentences to share.



Sunday, June 12, 2022

Paper Makers

What a neat nest! Perfect papery hexagons, made from plant fibers and wood pulp, aka paper!


This is the work of the native northern paper wasp (Polistes fuscatus) with one egg per cell, as you can see in the photo. The winged adults bring caterpillars to feed their larvae, but the adults consume only liquid nectar.

Fascinating!


Saturday, June 11, 2022

Ferns

This is sensitive fern, Onoclea sensibilis, sensitive to frost, so it browns early in the fall/winter changeover.


 Ideal for a beautiful bridal bouquet!


Perfect droplets










Friday, June 10, 2022

Birds and Bees


My trumpet honeysuckle anthers are laden with pollen.




I hope all the birds and bees (and any other creatures), for whom this feast is laid on, stop by to enjoy it! Birds and bees, come on down!

I just heard a hummingbird's wings above my head as it came to slurp up some nectar!

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Feasting on Meadow Rue

When I saw this beautiful caterpillar on my meadow rue one evening (5/29), I thought it would be pretty easy to identify since it had very distinctive markings and coloration.


And yes, it was easy, using Google lens. It's the Canadian owlet moth, Calyptra canadensis, which feeds almost exclusively on meadow rue!


Suddenly this association caused some sparking in my brain, and I searched for 'caterpillars' in my collection of digital photo albums. And yes, I found that I had photographed this same species on May 27 2021, and posted about it on June 9th (Sitting Quietly). I hadn't remembered the species name, nor the distinctive markings.

These were observed 1 year and 2 days apart - amazing!

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Eclosion

These dragonfly nymphs have left their old selves behind and begun a new life as a winged insect. They've left the evidence (their exoskeletons)of their eclosion on the cinnamon ferns (Osmunda cinnamomea) near the lake edge.

They look a little creepy, but are empty, and nothing to be wary of.




Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Original Internet

Look at what I found beneath the leaf litter - nature's internet! The fragile, ethereal, fungal threads have been safely protected beneath the layer of leaves.


This is the original interconnected information network, perfected by nature a long, long time ago. Mycorrhizal fungi act as highways through which plants have access to environmental information and nutrients.