Gossamer Tapestry

Reflections on conservation, butterflies, and ecology in the nation's heartland

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Late Summer at the Fen

Summer is definitely moving along. The late summer flora is getting into full swing out at the fen. We're starting to see the goldenrods and asters in bloom. The yellow flowers in the photo above are wingstem, a species that we did not have at the Fen until we began seeding it. Today it's abundant in some of our savannas and degraded wetlands.

Stiff White Aster (Solidago ptarmicoides)

Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium)

Ironweed (Veronia fasciculata)

We have several other plant species that are conspicuous at this time of year whose presence is mostly or entirely a result of our seeding efforts. The upland stiff aster required little effort on our part beyond throwing some seed around. Rattlesnake master was more stubborn. We have been trying to encourage it for over a decade now. It is finally showing up- we may even be able to collect seed on site this year. There were about a half dozen ironweed plants when I first started working out at the Fen, all in an inaccessible part of the preserve. Today this species is expanding in may of our restored areas, and its striking dark purple blooms are readily visible and avidly visited by insects.

Speaking of insects, the dragonflies are putting on a spectacular show at the moment.

Calico Pennant (Celithemis lisa)

Common Whitetail (Platythemis lydia)

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicolis)

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At 14:54, Blogger Ur-spo said...

late summer for me means the songs of the grasshoppers, or is it crickets - who sing at night the summer is ending, fall is coming.
I hope to hear some next week, when we are in Canada.

At 16:46, Blogger Texas Travelers said...

It's feeling like late summer here also, but still locked in the heat.

Nice insects and photos.


At 17:28, Blogger Floridacracker said...

We have rattlesnake master and ironweed here too. Really pretty plants. Blazing star is getting ready to kick in around these parts. Lots of buds on the stalks.

At 20:37, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the nicest things about this time of the season is the fall it portends.

At 05:22, Blogger Dave Coulter said...

Nice to hear that the seeding work is paying off out there. Well done!

At 21:22, Blogger Randy Emmitt said...


The Rattlesnake Master is really something, I think I have seen it before but was clueless on what it was. Your Blue Dasher is an Eastern Pondhawk actually.

At 21:51, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Spo- I'm sitting on my screened porch listening to the crickets and katydids right now.

Troy- Thanks. The weather is still pretty summery here right now.

FC- Do you know which species of blazing star you have?

Ted- Autumn is a truly beautiful season in these parts.

Dae- It's a significant reward for me.

Randy- Thanks. I was paying too much attention to behavior and not enought to field marks.


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