Author’s Note: I wrote this post four months ago in the peak of summer, on one of the rare days when I had a few hours to crank out posts. I reasoned, “There will be long stretches when you can’t write, so store up some content and post it periodically!” And then I…er, forgot to post it. So here you go. Pretend it’s still summer, I guess?
Time for another visit to the Lucius Burch Natural Area, which is hot, overgrown, and gorgeous this time of year.
Everywhere you look in the pond, there’s bound to be a blue dasher (or 10) in your line of sight. They blend in fairly well, but I bet you can spot the one in this photo.
The wildflowers are in full bloom right now. Don’t ask me to identify them, though–I’d love to know what that berry is for sure (to see whether it’s good to eat!) and what the pretty purple flowers are. I know the white ones are obviously daisies, and the bright yellow-and-red ones at the bottom are tickseed sunflowers. It was finding these in a field one summer that inspired me to plant them in my own garden, where they have been excellent for pollinators.
On this visit, I had to hang around for a very long time before I saw anything of note. I was startled by a snake underfoot on the side of the pond I usually explore, and for some reason it especially freaked me out this time. I think it’s because there’s nowhere in that area without tall grass, so it wasn’t like I could immediately see how to jump to safety. So instead I walked across the road to the smaller pond, where there wasn’t much going on. I did see some butterflies out in the field, though, and after watching them for awhile, I found a few who were more concerned with sunning themselves than with evading me. When I looked them up in my field guide later, I realized they were variegated fritillaries–a new species for me. Yay!
Pretty damsels: on the top left, some fragile forktails mating; on the top right, the first (and actually only…which is very odd) familiar bluet I’ve seen this year; on the bottom, a pretty female Rambur’s forktail.
Here are some random bugs. I was very happy to see this green lacewing, because they’re so unusual-looking. They’re kind of part damselfly, part grasshopper. Speaking of “part” grasshopper, this katydid is missing one of its antennae. I believe the cute, coy-looking moth on the right is the snowy urola moth, known for its silky white wings. It’s a kind of snout moth, which makes sense if you look at the shape of its face.
Aaaaaand now we have deer. This is the first time I’ve seen one here, and between that and the snakes, my paranoia is at an all-time high. No, I don’t expect to be gored by a deer or anything (although apparently that’s not unheard of), but I do expect to pick up ticks on occasion. In fact, driving home from this visit, I became convinced I had a tick on the back of my knee, making me drive a little faster than the fuzz would probably appreciate. Happily, when I got home, I realized it was merely one of my chigger scabs from the previous week (see…so much nicer of an explanation!…?…). The occupational hazards of hanging out in swamps are really making themselves apparent this summer!