Sunday, July 31, 2022

Magnificent Arrowhead

I was fortunate to be out in the location where this beauty was blooming recently - it's a grass leaved arrowhead (Sagittaria graminea), a fantastic wetland plant. The leaves are ... long and grass-like!

What a pleasure it was to have found this in a secluded and not oft-traveled cove.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Native Buttons

Ahh, I love sights like this on my survey paddles on the lake - this is the superb buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis):

There is the sense of these flowers having a halo around them, the way their pistils reach out beyond the substantial center. Birds and insects love these plants for their nectar and seeds.

It's a perfect bank-stabilizing shrub on shorelines.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Meadow Rue

I love the explosion of fireworks effect that the flowering head of tall meadow rue (Thalictrum pubescens) produces (and yes, that's a non-native beetle taking advantage of my natives!)

These blooms soon turn into fruit that looks like this, also intricately beautiful

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Pine Cone Center

I think this interesting artifact is the central core of a pine cone, having been gnawed down to this by a rodent. It's made quite a nice pattern.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022



I was lucky to have caught this adult mayfly on my window, resting right beside its former self. "Adult" mayflies have two life stages, the imago and sub imago (basically adult and sub adult). This extra stage into adulthood makes them hemimetabolous (incomplete metamorphosis). I find it fascinating that these full adults do not eat - they are single-mindedly focused on mating and reproduction!

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Sundew Diary

 This year (2022), the round-leaved sundews (Drosera rotundifolia) have put on a magnificent display. 

These tiny white flowers are erupting on the floating stump gardens in our cove.

The sticky, baubled leaves have proliferated over the years, coating much more of the floating stump, which is very pleasing to us, but probably not so for the unfortunate insects that give up their life for this cause.

Not only are there large numbers of flower stalks, but the hairy-looking red protuberances on the green leaves are striking.


Monday, July 25, 2022

Some Insects


Bur reed blooms attracting a weevil

Summer fishfly with beautiful wings and antennae

Bumblebee visitation

Coneflower feast

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Pretty in Pink


This beautiful pink spire goes by the common names steeplebush or hardhack, and sometimes meadowsweet. It can get quite confusing, so resorting to its scientific name, Spiraea tomentosa gets rid of all mix ups.

This little hoverfly has found nectar nirvana. This plant is also host to the larval stage of the New England buck moth.

Such a beauty! I love the delicate way that the white turns to pink

It's not favored by deer for food because the astringent foliage is not particularly favorable. So, plant one and enjoy!

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Picture Window

It's called a picture window for a reason - this shot was taken through a friend's living room window!

The foreground darkens.

A gradient of color

Spreads in the distance.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Poor Monarchs

Oh no! We aren't doing enough to save our monarchs: the latest status for them is ENDANGERED

Endangered monarchs
"Migratory monarch butterfly now Endangered - IUCN Red List

Gland, Switzerland, 21 July 2022 (IUCN) – The migratory monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus plexippus), known for its spectacular annual journey of up to 4,000 kilometres across the Americas, has entered the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM as Endangered, threatened by habitat destruction and climate change. All surviving sturgeon species – also migratory, found across the northern hemisphere – are now at risk of extinction due to dams and poaching, pushing the world’s most Critically Endangered group of animals yet closer to the brink. The tiger (Panthera tigris) has been reassessed, revealing new population figures."

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The migratory monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus plexippus) has entered the IUCN Red List as Endangered.
Photo: Joe Schelling

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Late Light on the Lake


Look at the glory of this afternoon light, seen from my kayak - I just can't get enough of it. All this to 'comfort' me as I evaluate the abundance of invasive bladderworts and their flowering times - they're on my mind and in my dreams.

It's a worthwhile compensation, in my eyes.

Google Photos actually suggested this "improvement" but it's not realistic, and therefore not appealing, to me

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Shadow of a Butterfly

I got this shot by mistake - I pressed the shutter slightly too late and caught this mourning cloak butterfly flying instead of stationary. But, I like the shadow, after all, even though it's not as sharp as I'd like.

I guess a butterfly shadow is quite an elusive thing. I makes me think of Jim Morrison's lyrics, in which he intones that before he dies, he wants to hear "the scream of the butterfly." To me, it is the desire to experience the totality of life and all it had to offer, to be attentive, to listen and to experience deeply.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Cute Rodents

We've been able to share some quality time with a new batch of red squirrels this year. This female appears to be the matriarch. She's not tame enough to have her tail 'clipped' with a code, but she has a VERY distinctive and strange forking at the tip of her tail. The injury for which she was named, Wounded Knee, has long since healed and is no longer a distinguishing feature.

This is a young male (obvious), with beautiful deep ginger coloring and a deep commitment to removing all chipmunks from the vicinity of his food pile. We refer to him as PJ - he has a very dark line around his muzzle, and down the center of it.

This is Wounded Knee again. She's holding the sunflower seed husk delicately between her thumbs, as they all do. So skilled!

This is one of many insistent, opportunistic chipmunks that think we exist simply to hand out food for them.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Special Effects

There's so much to contend with while photographing plants from a bobbing kayak - the current, ripples, one's own shadow, reflections, obstructions, not getting your camera wet ...

Here are a few which turned out a tad artsy because I couldn't see my screen when I snapped a picture.

 Eelgrass leaves shimmering in the light and current

The refraction rainbow in the water mimics the curve of the milfoil fragments in this next one:

It's as if an image of peacock feathers has been superimposed over the scene

These are all unintentional special effects - physics deserves all the credit.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

A Gift!

I've been intent on re-wilding my shoreline for a few years - no mowing, letting it grow wild, and transplanting swamp loving natives into this area to create a natural looking buffer. It should slow down rainfall runoff and keep the shoreline protected from boat wake erosion. 

This little beauty volunteered itself to the cause! Isn't it gorgeous? Delicate and subtle - marsh skullcap (Scutellaria galericulata). 

As you can see from the leaves, it is a member of the mint family, a hardy native perennial.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Dropping the Ball


Health insurance! AAARGH. I'm not the one getting paid, but I'm the one doing all the work, running-around and fact finding.

Apparently a rejected referral (practice doesn't take my insurance) has been sitting in my PCP's office for the past 2 weeks, without my knowledge. I use their patient portal - how difficult is it to inform me? 

In the meantime, I have been waiting for the specialist to call and schedule my appointment. I called them once I knew the referral had been initiated, and was told, after they asked me the name of my insurance, that a referral could take 2 weeks to process! I believed them, and waited, and waited - nothing. And now I discover they don't take my insurance - how come the left hand doesn't know what the right is doing? Why on earth didn't they let me know, right there and then that they don't accept my provider???????????

So many different ways to drop the ball! And now I have to pick it up because ... I threw it?

Just got to vent sometimes!

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Mystery Bug


I photographed this strange looking bug crawling along my arm, wondering whether it might sting or bite. It turned out to be the larval form of the ladybug! Who would have thought?

So, from that, to this:

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Spiny Cheeks

Look at what I found whilst doing my Courtesy Boat Inspection Duty - a native freshwater crustacean, the spiny-cheek crayfish. I "captured" it in my lunch container, removed all the weeds and muck, and had fun looking at, and photographing it.

Its tail is spectacular, IMO - check it out.

The little spines from which it gets its common name, are located back from the eyes a little - you can see the tiny little jagged bits on its carapace. The reddish stripes on its body are not easy to see when it's in the muck and shaded shallows, but in clear, sunny water, it looks quite colorful.

The detailed striations on its antennae are only visible up close. It reminds me of the mouthparts of the extraterrestrial creatures in the South African movie District 9 - clearly what they were modeled on. Take a look - the eyes look a bit bugged out too, a little like a frog.

Faxonius limosus

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Milkweeds of Three

 Look at these beauties in my yard - butterflyweed:

And then there is the swamp milkweed, same thing, in pink.

And last, but not least, the intricate common milkweed, looking stunning as always.