Tuesday, June 29, 2010

pyrolas and damselflies

I've barely gotten out this June--the weather, my schedule and my mood did not often happily align--and I've missed so much. Missed the ladyslippers, missed twinflowers, missed coralroot, barely saw any clintonia and columbine and sarsaparilla and mertensia. So today I set aside silly things like job hunting and housework and went and walked around in the woods for a while.

June has turned out to be three weeks of rain followed by one week of warm sun, and the forest in the Antenna Farm is lush and thick. I'd been assuming that the snowmobile trails were ATV trails in the summer, but they were largely overgrown and barely used. And also severely flooded in several places with up to a foot of water, which is probably why they aren't ATV trails. At least I hope not; several times as I approached the pools I heard a splash of unknown origins, and once I actually saw a frog hop from the grass into the water and into the grass again.

And there were damselflies galore, too. A few dragonflies, too, but mostly damsels, and some of them even posed nicely while I fiddled with the focus of my camera. (Any damselfly experts in the audience care to chime in on ID?)

In the world of birds, highlights include a pair of bluebirds along the roadside, a small flock of cedar waxwings eating underripe serviceberries, and a mourning warbler that was yelling at me from the shrubbery.

And while I have missed a lot of blooms already this summer, one that I did not miss is pyrola, which is one of my favorite flowers, but one that I don't see very often. There's some on the Superior Hiking Trail a bit further west, and one year I saw some at Scandia cemetery, but it's kind of hit or miss whether I see any pyrola each year. I like the unassuming structure of the plant, the kind of lurid-looking, long, curved pistil, and the sweet lily-of-the-valley scent. I feel lucky to have seen some at all, and luckier still to have found them in my Antenna Farm.

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