Out of Town

Moth MulleinWhen you don’t see me posting in the next few days, don’t go worrying about me… I’ll be out of town camping with nephews and daughter…  It won’t be because I got sucked into some virtual world role playing game or anything like that…

This flower is called Moth Mullein (Verbascum blattaria).  It gets its name from the fact that the fuzzy, purple stamens look somewhat like moth antennae.  It comes in white or yellow.  We have both varieties at Audubon.

Moth Mullein


I snapped the yellow one along the Universal Trail near the building and the white one out on the embankment of Big Pond.




See you in September!

Celtic Festival

Couldn’t resist going to the Celtic Festival last Saturday.

Opening Ceremony 3

I know I have some Scotch-Irish heritage…  Perhaps I lived in Scotland in a former life?

Opening Ceremony 1

Somehow, when those bagpipes start playing…  goosebumps… even stinging tears in my eyes…

Opening Ceremony 2

The highland games intrigue me, too…

Highland Games

One of these two guys won the “Bonniest Knees” contest at a previous festival. Can you guess which?
Who has the bonniest knees?

It was this one: the one who loves his mom:
He loves his Mom

Wordless Week!

I’ve been busy this week racking up lots of great outdoor experiences… cramming so much into the summer days that I have no time for proper blogging.  For me, “proper blogging” means a little more research on what I’ve found or learned or experienced to go along with the pictures.

Oh well…  Today, just pictures from a recent early morning walk…


Virgin's Bower
Virgin’s Bower or Wild Clematis

A Spreadwing
A Spreadwing

Horse Nettle
Horse Nettle

…which will turn into this:
It Will Turn Into This

Have a great weekend… 

More Summer Fungi

I couldn’t resist going back to the Westside Overland Trail to get some photos of the fungi that I mentioned in a previous post.  So last Saturday, I returned.  The sun kept peeking out from behind the clouds, so I hoped to be able to get a few decent shots in natural light.  I don’t know what any of these are called, but I just had to post them…









All this from a Saturday afternoon walk…  And there were several species not pictured here… either too far gone, or too difficult to photograph due to light conditions or location…

This world is so incredibly beautiful and there is such a diversity of life… It takes my breath away. 

Intergenerational Elderhostel

This is Jamestown Audubon’s first experience offering an intergenerational Elderhostel program.  The theme is insects, but participants will also take general nature walks and birding walks.  They will kayak in two different locations and take a ride on Chautauqua Lake on the Summer Wind.

I got to spend Sunday evening and a good chunk of Monday with our small but pleasant group.  Here are some highlights:

Sarah came along and calmed a Water Snake for a Close Encounter and some snake education:

Water Snakes have keeled scales which makes for a rough texture on top:

The belly is as smooth as can be:
The belly of the Water Snake is smooth as can be

We also saw a Garter Snake, Leopard Frogs, and Grasshoppers along the way, along with lots of funky fungi and strange parasitic wildflowers.

In the afternoon, the group proved to be rather adept at catching dragonflies. Here’s a Halloween Pennant:

And check out this mating pair of Eastern Forktails, caught in midflight:

So, welcome Elderhostel participants.  I hope you have a great week.  More pictures from the Elderhostel experience can be found here and will be updated throughout the week: FLICKR PIX

300mm Lens

Today was our Photo Club picnic at Audubon.  We had great food, great conversation, and a chance to walk together to shoot.  Jeremy let me use his Canon 300mm F4 IS lens.

Eastern Pondhawk - 300mm Lens

It was a sweet lens!  It focused very fast and allowed me to reach out to critters without getting so close that I scared them.

This one wasn’t lit in an ideal way, but I shot it anyway!  Because I could!Red-spotted Purple 300mm lens

I shot dozens and dozens of a Monarch on the Joe Pye Weed.  I haven’t had time to look at all of the shots and analyze them and pick out the best… But here’s one of them, anyway:

Monarch on Joe Pye Weed 300 mm lens

As we turned the corner of the trail, I noticed a big darner.  It did us the courtesy of landing on some grass and sitting still for several shots.  Again, I haven’t analyzed them all, but here’s one:

Darner 300mm lens

And finally, a frog…  Seems like they usually jump before I can see them.  And even if they don’t, my lens has never allowed me to get close enough.  But today, a frog obliged me:

Green Frog 300mm lens

Jeremy told me that there is a lens out from Sigma… 50-500mm zoom…  Anybody out there have one?  How do you like it?

(yes, i’m still agonizing over what lens to get next…)

Thanks for the loan of your lens today, Jeremy.  All others, check out Jeremy’s work here:

Ditch Stonecrop

Ditch StonecropGrowing in the muck along the side of a stream that overflows its banks frequently and makes hiking a messy prospect, tucked in along with Spotted Jewelweed, I found this.

It’s called Ditch Stonecrop (Penthorum sedoides), and its listed in Peterson’s Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs:

American Indians used seeds in cough syrups.  Historically, plant tincture was used as demulcent, laxative, and tonic, for mucous membrane irritations, vaginitis, diarrhea, dysentery, pharyngitis, tonsillitis, piles, chronic bronchitis, and nervous indigestion.

Wow.  That’s a lot of stuff.  The flowers are supposed to be “white to greenish” but my closeups all had a pink tint:

Ditch Stonecrop Closeup

It can be found throughout the east, and in the northwest in wetlands.  Indeed, it is listed by the USDA Plants database as an obligate species for wetlands.  So, next time you’re out hiking through muck, keep your eyes open for Ditch Stonecrop!

Learn more:

Summer Fungi

White OnesI didn’t take my camera last Sunday when I walked a section of the Westside Overland Trail.  It was just as well, since it rained all the way out.  But as I look back on the hike, I wish I had taken the camera… or that I was as talented as Carolyn, or Toni, or Christine and could sketch, draw, or paint what I saw!

A Yellow OneWhat did I see?  Fungi.  More kinds than I have ever seen in one day in my life.  Orange ones.  Yellow ones.  Pink, purple, tan, red, brown, black, white…  Smooth ones.  Bumpy ones.  Curly ones.  Ones with gills, others without.  Shaped like cups.  Shaped like balls, parasols, fingers, cheetohs, potato chips…

I may have to make time to go back to that section of trail with the camera…  Quickly… before the fungi disappear…

 In the meantime, I took a walk in a nearby woods to see what might be “blooming” there.  I don’t know what any of them are…  But aren’t they gorgeous?

Orange Ones

White Coral Fungus

An Orange One

A Bunch of Orange Ones