Monday, May 30, 2016
Sunday, May 29, 2016
What I forgot yesterday... Dame's rocket and phlox. What I didn't notice because I was running... False Solomon's seal.
We went back to closely inspect the red patch, which involved a significant off-trail jaunt. Here's Chris standing by them:
We also rescued a turtle today.
Saturday, May 28, 2016
I'll admit it... There are times of the year when the prairie isn't the most aesthetically interesting ecosystem. But she is coming into her own now, and from June through October, the prairie will display staggering biodiversity. A slowly but constantly changing cast of colorful characters will appear in the endless sea of waving grass.
Here is a partial (because I won't remember them all) list of what I saw blooming in the prairie today:
Shooting stars (still holding on!), golden Alexander, spiderwort, cream false indigo, wild indigo, wild roses (pictured below), lupine (pictured below below), wild hyacinth (pictured way below), wild geraniums, Canada anemone, daisies, fleabane, mustards -- yellow, white and garlic (I didn't say all the flowers were desirable), cow parsnip, bladder campion, hawkweed, irises, a patch of something bright red and far off the trail in a wetter area, no idea what it was... That's all I'm remembering at the moment. I'm sure there was more, but I probably got the best ones. Even so... That's a lot!
Friday, May 27, 2016
Spiderwort is blooming.
Look at these spectacular indigos!
Purple irises by the pond, with yellow ones blooming in the background.
Also sighted today: my first monarch butterfly of the year! Too much moving to get a good photo, though.
Monday, May 23, 2016
Between last week and this week, some things I've missed photographing:
- mayapples blooming
- wasps making nests everywhere
- assuming last frost was last week -- 5/14 was in the 30's -- SUPER COLD -- we planted all the vegetables in the garden this weekend. I did hear Tom Skilling say on the radio this morning that he thinks the warmth is here to stay. Now if he could take the thunderstorms out of the forecast for my last camping trip, that'd be good.
- pretty much all trees have leaves now, including ashes and oaks, our late leafer-outers
- I saw a really beautiful wood duck yesterday, just floating along by the boardwalk at Rollins Savannah
And here are some observations from the actual May 23:
Spittlebug spittle is quite common now.
Cream False Indigo blooming:
Monday, May 16, 2016
OK, I've been remiss as a blogger and, to a lesser extent, as a phenologist. I have all sorts of excuses, though they all boil down to one, really... I've been on school trips. This means that a lot of the observations I've made haven't been here, but rather 2 hours north or 2 hours south. It also means I'm extremely busy, and extremely tired. So some data has been lost. I know. Irretrievable. A day of laziness, data lost forever. There's always next year.
At any rate, I'm typing this on May 23, but I've dated the post 5/16, because I actually did take these pictures on that date. Just didn't make it to step 2, uploading (or step 3, writing, or step 4, publishing...) So here's just a taste of what was happening a week ago:
Dogwood (red-osier) blooming.
Chokeberry blooming, and feeding a big fat bee.
Honeysuckle blooming. All over, because they're terribly invasive.
Also important to note: we had our last freeze on 5/14, which was a very cold day. I don't think it topped 40 as a high... there may have also been frost on 5/17. There was where I was sleeping, and that was SOUTH of here, so it would make sense. But I wasn't home to witness it.
Saturday, May 7, 2016
I was viciously attacked by geese this morning. So I'd already run 6.75 miles, with the plan to run 7 and then walk the last mile home. This is important information because it means I'm not interested in turning around; that would add miles to my route. I rounded a curve and came upon 3 pairs of geese, each with a little flock of goslings. They were on both sides of the trail and on it. Goslings were actually sitting on the trail. So adult geese will hiss but leave at a fast walk or fly, but the babies are slow and I'm approaching and they're scattering but none too fast. Some of the parents decide I'm getting too close and charge me, hissing, wings flapping... Right at me. I screamed (not in fear but to scare them, not terribly effectively) and waved my arms and kicked at one but in the end... I just ran through and away as fast as I could, heart racing...
Here's some more mundane phenology for you:
Friday, May 6, 2016
I ran this morning, left in the dark, watched the sun rise... Then it was nice and sunny, and then, quite unexpectedly, it started to rain! I saw a lovely rainbow.
Seven miles on a temperate morning is the perfect way to start the day, and a rainbow was the perfect way to end my seven miles!
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Spring rains have brought on the "blooming" of the cedar-apple rust galls. I know I've previously described this fascinating disease, but since it is... well... fascinating, it bears repeating. This gelatinous ball of orange horns adorning cedar branches -- and they are ALL OVER right now, as though they have been decorated for Christmas by a strange alien -- is one part of the life cycle of a fungus that affects both the cedars and apple trees. Its lifecycle requires two hosts living in proximity (and by proximity, I mean within the few-mile radius of each other that spored can blow in the wind).
These orange protrusions, called telia, emerge from tight brown galls on cedar trees during spring rains. Over the course of April and May(ish), they can swell and dry up many times as wet weather comes through. When they do, the horns emit spores into the air. These blow in the wind until they find their other host -- an apple or crabapple tree at the vulnerable point in their own lifecycle when they're flowering and leaves are new. (Also hawthorns and quinces can be infected). Soon, splotches of discoloration appear on the leaves, yellow, turning orange/rusty, then black as well. Crabapples are very common around here, and hawthorns as well. I've been looking for symptoms on them, but, notably, haven't found any. While the infection spreads within hours, it takes about a week, I think, for the spots to appear, so I'll keep looking. At any rate... In late summer, these rusty splotches release spores, which, born upon the winds, find... you guessed it! Cedar trees!
When spores land on cedar trees, it takes much longer for symptoms to develop than it does on the apple. At first it's a hard, small, brown gall. In fact, the fungus overwinters this way. The telia don't actually swell to their gelatinous, alien-like arms until their second year of cedar infection! (And after that, they're done.) Most of the time, what you'll see on cedars is just brown, woody protuberances that pretty well blend in. Upon inspection, they do have little pock-like marks that are where the individual telia will come out.
The cedar-apple rust fungus can be pretty devastating for apple crops, so it's generally viewed as a negative, but... come on, those crazy things are pretty cool looking, right?
Another notable spring development -- oak trees (bur oak shown here) have tiny, translucent leaves... perfect, 1-inch miniature versions of their future selves...