McCrea Point Boat Landing

It’s not that far from my house and I drive by it frequently.  For some reason, I rarely stop…  Last Sunday, though, I had an itch to continue practicing with my new lens, so I decided to see if there were some gulls or ducks that I could reach with 400mm. I was not disappointed!

Mallards:

Two Ducks

Mallard w Reflection

I was also quite delighted to see gorgous Fragrant Water Lilies open in the morning sun:

Water Lily

Water Lily

And of course, Purple Loosestrife:

Purple Loosestrife 2

McCrea Point is an excellent place to launch a canoe or kayak… Head upstream toward Chautauqua Lake and you are apt to see all  manner of wildlife…  herons, dragonflies, turtles, frogs…  You’ll also see old, grown-over slips where the steamers used to dock… history and natural history abound.

Learn More:

Bladderwort

BladderwortBladderwort. What a weird name. What is it?

It’s a floating, carnivorous plant found in waterways throughout North America.

Come to Audubon in July and August and you may see our ponds be-speckled with the snapdragon-like yellow flowers produced by this plant.

Floating?  Yup.  It doesn’t put roots into soil.  Most of the plant is an underwater and stays near the bottom of the pond until summer when it floats up to the surface, produces a whorl of fleshy leaves and a bright yellow flower.

Carnivorous?  Yup.  The underwater network of leaf-like stems contain tiny bladders.  Here’s the best explanation I found for how the bladders work, from the US Forest Service site listed below:

Hairs at the opening of the bladder serve as triggers, and when contacted, mechanically cause the trap to spring open, drawing in water and organisms like a vacuum. Enzymes and /or bacteria inside the traps aid in digestion.

Ain’t nature cool?

Bladderwort and Duckweed

Learn more:

Summer Wildflowers

Blue Vervain      Blue Vervain
Blue Vervain (aka Swamp Vervain)
Verbena hastata

Canadian Burnet     Canadian Burnet
Canadian Burnet (aka Canada Burnet)
Sanguisorba canadensis

Bull Thistle     Canada Thistle
Left: Bull Thistle (aka Common Thistle), Cirsium vulgare
Right:  Canada Thistle, Cirsium arvense

Meadowsweet     Meadowsweet
Meadow-sweet, Spiraea latifolia

The Scarlet Pimpernel

When I think of the Scarlet Pimpernel, I think of the French Revolution.  I think of secret societies, and of intrigue.  I think of old movies and Leslie Howard.  Oh yeah, and there’s that flower… important in the story because the hero signs his notes not with a name, but with an image, a flower:  a Scarlet Pimpernel.

I never thought to look for the flower.  It never occurred to me that it might grow around here – or even on this continent.  Then, after seeing  tiny reddish-orange flowers in the paths at Reinstein Woods and discovering (via my Flickr friends) that they were Scarlet Pimpernels… and looking them up in my various field guides and reading how “widespread” they are and that they bloom from June through August along roadsides in sandy soil, in “wasteplaces” (like lots of our summer aliens)…  well, I just began to wonder how I could have lived to be more than a half-century old and never see this flower?

Scarlet Pimpernel 1

OK, in my defense… it is only 1/4″ wide.  And it grows in sunny places – and only opens on sunny days… (and if you know me at all you know that from June to August – you’ll find me in the shade… I only venture out on cloudy / rainy days!)

Still, now that I’ve seen them… I’ll be braving the sun to look for more.

Got Milk(weed)?

Today I was out early checking my bird boxes.  Some of them sit in a really lovely large patch of Common Milkweed.

Common Milkweed 2   Common Milkweed 1

Since I have been seeing Monarch Butterflies, I decided to check the plants for eggs or caterpillars.  I didn’t find any Monarchs at all.  But I found plenty of other stuff!  Take a look:

Milkweed Bugs
Milkweed Bug - Youngster   Milkweed Bug - adult

Harvestman
Harvestman on Milkweed

Bagworm
Bagworm

A Snail
Snail on Milkweed

Somebody Hiding in a Rolled Up Leaf
Milkweed Leaf Roll from back

and my favorite:  Virginia Ctenucha Moth!
Virginia Ctenucha Moth 4

Bells in the Woods – Part I

I had half an hour between appointments and while it was a tad breezy, the light was perfect.  I headed to College Park to see if any new spring flowers had popped open.

Yellow Mandarin

Yellow Mandarin is also known as Fairy Bells.  The Latin name I found in the most places was Disporum lanuginosum which is most likely what your flower field guide will list.  The USDA also lists Streptopus lanuginosus and Prosartes lanuginosa with the latter being the preferred name.  How’s that for confusing?  At any rate, they all seem to agree that Yellow Mandarin is in the Lily family.

Yellow Mandarin

The yellow-green bell-like flowers dangle beneath the leaves and would be easy to miss if you weren’t looking for them.  In late summer, if all goes well, you’ll see bright orange-red berries where the flowers used to be.

Yellow Mandarin

I could find no reference to this berry being edible by either humans or animals.  Strange… Usually you can find someplace that will tell you who eats it!

Yellow Mandarin   Yellow Mandarin Range Map from eFloras

More bells tomorrow…

Squish

There is a large patch of Yellow Clintonia at Jamestown Community College’s “College Park” – also known as the 100-acre lot.  Well, there was… Until a big old tree snapped off and fell on it.

Tree Crashed Down on my Yellow Clintonia

There are a few plants that didn’t get squished and I’ll keep watching them.  They are still sporting tight little buds.  I found them in bloom May 27th in 2007:

Yellow Clintonia - Closeup

So many things are happening early this spring that I thought I should keep an eye on them if I want to try pictures again this year!  But no… still buds.

While investigating the fallen tree, I happened to find a rather large patch of Wild Sarsaparilla – also still buds:

Wild Sarsaparilla

I think that’s my first time finding this plant anywhere… which is embarassing, since Newcomb’s calls it “very common.”