Monday, August 17, 2015

School's Back -- Better Start Recording!

This is one of those phenological occurrences that get people more upset than excited.  Pictured in the foreground is ragweed, and the yellowish tinge comes from pollen, and ragweed pollen causes lots of folks allergy issues.  Pictured in the background is newly flowering goldenrod.  Being a much more showy flower-er that happens to flower concurrently with ragweed, goldenrod often takes the heat for the sniffling and sneezing.  Many people who think they are allergic to goldenrod are actually reacting to the ragweed.

On the other hand, the flowering and subsequent seeding of the prairie grasses is one of my favorite late summer happenings.  The flowers are diminutive -- tiny little dangling jewels atop some of the prairie's tallest residents -- and so are often overlooked.  But they are truly lovely... brightly colored and dancing in the breeze.  I am always fascinated by the colors of the prairie grasses this time of year.  Grass is green, you say?  Not so if you look closely... There are many shades of yellow and purple, orange and red along with that green.  (Everything but true blue -- which is funny because, you know, bluestem.)
Indian Grass flowers
Big Bluestem flowers

In insect news (no photos, sadly), monarchs abound both in their adult form and in their larval stages. We found a mid-sized caterpillar munching away yesterday!

And personally, I am LOVING the year of many dragonflies that we are having... Here's just one of many articles about the phenomena; any long time readers that have stuck with me through my breaks in coverage know I love odonata, and I certainly have been enjoying watching them this summer... and it's not just vast quantities, I feel like I've seen a lot of dragonfly biodiversity recently, too.   


  1. I really like your blog! Good observations and content. I read somewhere that years ago school children knew that school was starting again when they saw the Goldenrod start to bloom. The two do coincide fairly close at least here in Minnesota. I thought I wrote about it on my own nature blog somewhere but now I can't locate it:

    Keep up the nice work!

    1. Thanks... For me and it's always been the big bluestem. Summer camp ended when it got taller than me, and school started shortly thereafter when it flowered/seeded.