Akeley Swamp: (Butterflies and) Wildflowers!

Our first attempt to see butterflies at Akeley Swamp was a washout.  We kinda knew it would be, which is why we didn’t bother with cameras.  But the wildflowers were riotous and the potential was great, so we planned to return in a couple of days when the forecast was more promising.

My car thermometer read 47 degrees and the valley was full of mist.  I got there an hour before the other two.  I took a leisurely stroll up the trail and I photographed lots of flowers without the distraction of contrast-y sunshine.

More true confessions:  I don’t hike much in summer because I don’t tolerate the heat well and the bugs absolutely love me.  So, some of the flowers along this trail were strangers to me!  I was delighted by the cool temperatures and the opportunity to learn them.

IMG_5128-Phlox

Wild Phlox

In spring, I have to tell folks all the time that Dame’s Rocket is not Wild Phlox. I explain that Dame’s Rocket is a 4-petaled flower and Phlox has five petals… But until visiting Akeley in summer, I hadn’t ever seen Phlox – at least not that I remember.

IMG_5188-Phlox

Wild Phlox

Some of the plants had sparser blooms. I’m still not sure if they are a different variety, or just a younger, less robust plant.  It seems this variety had white blooms, while the other plants had pink.

IMG_5241-St Johnswort
This St John’s Wort was familiar to me. I see it all over the place, along roadsides, in fields.  I know several other varieties, too, but didn’t find them at Akeley.  But this one:

IMG_5157-StJohnswort

St John’s Wort

This taller, bolder St John’s Wort was completely new to me!

IMG_5134-Alfalfa2

Alfalfa

I puzzled for quite some time trying to figure this one out. Leaves kind of like clover. Blossoms like peas. Turns out, it’s alfalfa.  Thanks to Kathleen for helping with that ID.

IMG_5222-Mystery Flower

Mystery Flower

I still don’t know what this one is. If you know, please tell me!
UPDATE:  Duh!  The Mystery Flower is Purple Loosestrife… I just didn’t recognize it with so few blossoms open.  Thanks to the folks on Flickr in the ID Please group for helping me out.  (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jenniferschlick/19572581449/)

There were also plenty of old friends:

IMG_5169-Tall Meadow Rue

Tall Meadow Rue

IMG_5132-Common Milkweed

Common Milkweed

IMG_5221-Swamp Milkweed

Swamp Milkweed

IMG_5160-QAL

Queen Anne’s Lace (aka Wild Carrot)

IMG_5249-Purple Loosestrife

Purple Loosestrife

IMG_5236-Elderberry

Elderberry

IMG_5237-Cardinal Flower

Cardinal Flower

IMG_5215-Chicory

Chicory

My friends, Barbara Ann the Monarch Mama, and Jeff Zablow of wingedbeauty.com joined me as the fog was burning off and the insects were coming out. Of course, insects, unlike wildflowers, aren’t likely to sit still long enough for me to photograph… But I did get a couple:

IMG_5178-Ebony Jewelwing

Ebony Jewelwing (a damselfly, not a butterfly!)

I saw three or four species of butterflies. (Jeff saw many more – but then – he’s experienced!) This is the only one that posed long enough for me to get the camera set up and shoot:

IMG_5211-viceroy

Viceroy

Many thanks to friends who lure me away from desk to go exploring nature!

IMG_5217-Jeff

Jeff Zablow: scouting butterflies

Jeff will be the First Friday Lunch Bunch speaker at Jamestown Audubon in June 2016! He promises to take us on a Butterfly Walk after his indoor presentation.

IMG_5238-Barb

Barb: the Monarch Mama

Akeley Swamp is a part of the Pennsylvania State Game lands. Be careful and wear blaze orange if you hike there during hunting season. It is also designated by Audubon Pennsylvania as an official IBA (Important Bird Area) because it is a stop over for water-loving birds during migration.

Learn more:

Map:

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8 thoughts on “Akeley Swamp: (Butterflies and) Wildflowers!

  1. Jennifer, I love your wild flower photos, especially Queen Anne’s Lace, one of my favorites. I wish I lived closer so I could go on one of these adventures.

  2. Time in the field is most fruitful when you are with a few friends who are serious about their goals, help one another, and are poised and efficient in their movements. Jennifer and Barbara Ann made this just such a field experience, and we all completed the morning with satisfaction that we had the best possible result.

  3. Your photos are wonderful! I really enjoyed reading about your outing. What fun it must have been to be with your good friends outside enjoying the beauty of your surroundings!

  4. Barbara re-invited me to savor this blog post once again. What a fine tour of a magical Swamp, with very, very good images along with uber enthusiastic overview. My goodness, this should have been overwhelmed with readers and their Comments. Funny, how the best often fails to attract.

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