Monday, June 7, 2010

OK, I've finally gotten around to sharing the discoveries from my last school campout (June 1-3). Actually, I wrote this entry before, and then blogger crashed, erasing much of the work and also kicking me out for about 24 hours. So this isn't as wordy as the original, but it's plenty, I think... Anyhow. One of the trip's coolest moments was watching two smallish pileated woodpeckers dance around a tree trunk about 20 feet from us. I didn't get a great picture, but you can clearly see the pileated silhouette:

Our other avian friends, the wild turkeys, invaded our campsite. These two birds were so close to tents that if kids had come out at the right moment, it could have been very entertaining. But alas...
We saw two snakes... this tiny garter snake...
and this ginormous norther water snake. The previous week, if you recall, we saw a baby swimming... hard to believe it will end up like this guy, who was easily 5 feet long and a few inches in diameter. (It was ID'ed by some other hikers with a lot of scientific equipment, so I'm choosing to trust them...)
Also in the herpetology realm,several of these (some sort of true frog, don't ask me) sat near a wetland, happy enough to let us look and photograph, but disappearing as fast as a shot as soon as a 5th grade hand reached out to grab.

We saw, also, many interesting, colorful spiders. If I had been alone, I may have focused on them more, but I wasn't. So all I have is these guys:
Transitioning to arthropods people prefer, these damselflies -- either female blue-fronted dancers (brown form) or eastern forktails (immature females) -- kept landing on kids.
As did these butterflies (azures?), which I believe were going for the salt form our sweat. You could sit and watch their proboscises probing. Here, it is eating something else entirely...
These galls shall provide our transition from animal to plant... on serviceberry leaves, I just thought their colors were fantastic.
This poke milkweed (which I think I mid-identified last June 25)-- clearly asclepias -- is just a little bit different than other milkweeds, with its loosely clustered flowers in subtle shades of lavender and green. It's really quite pretty.
A catchfly?
And now for some fungus observations... there are lots of cool fungi at Starved Rock, though not as many fruiting bodies as I saw last June, but I am showing only these three...
this eyelash cup because of its bright orange color and the eponymous "eyelashes"...
this polypore because of its lovely colors of purple and orange and brown...
and this little fellow because of the neat ridges on its cap.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I love your site! How marvelous to share all your observations! I haven't been so diligent in sharing my information .... Your sketches are wonderful to look at and a real inspiration!

    Kathleen H. Peters