Gossamer Tapestry

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

Monday, September 06, 2010

Farewell to Summer

Labor Day weekend. The end of summer, the end of white shoes and belts, and the beginning to the progression into winter. Leon and I took Friday off, and were joined by our friend Michael in celebrating the end of summer in Michigan. We went camping in the Saugatuck region. Unfortunately, the weather was not overly cooperative. Although the only truly terrible weather was a robust thunderstorm the evening that we arrived (fortunately, after the tents were pitched), much of the weekend was rather marginal. Friday was drippy and therefore a day to hang around camp and go into town for a bit of shopping.

Oval Beach

Dunes Behind the Beach

On Saturday we hiked on the shore and in the dunes at Oval Beach. It was cloudy and very windy- at least 25 mph off of Lake Michigan. It made for some impressive surf. There were lots of gulls and a few sandpipers hukered down right on the lake shore because of the wind, and I was able to get a couple of decent photos of the sandpipers.


Sunday was by far the best day of the weekend. It was sunny and pleasantly warm without being hot. We went for a great hike at the Allegan Game Area just west of where we were staying. I've been there before as part of the Imperiled Butterfly Workshop, and wanted to show the place to Leon.

Allegan State Game Area

This part of the world is very sandy with lots of black oak. As I have previously mentioned, there are lots of Allegheny mound-building ant here. I had Michael stand next to one of the mounds to show just how large they are.

Michael L. with Ant Mound

We say some pretty good butterflies and, not surprising for such a sandy area, lots of tiger beetles. We also saw a and wasp (Bembyx americana) digging in the soft sand. I got some video.

American Copper(Lycaena phlaeas)

Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)

The Festive Tiger Beetle (Cicindela scutellaris lecontei) was the only species that we saw- but they were abundant. I have both collected and photographed this species before, but have not been happy with the photographic results. The abundance of the species and relatively cool temperatures allowed me to do better this time.

Several Shots of the Festive Tiger Beetle
(Cicindela scutellaris lecontei)

At breakfast yesterday, we noticed migrating monarch butterflies filling the skies like autumn leaves. This weekend featured many signs of the change of seasons. I guess I'm ready to say goodbye to the summer of 2010. It's been a fine one.

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At 20:28, Blogger BentonQuest said...

That is such a beautiful part of the state. Nice wildlife you found next to the ant hill! I used to live near the ake,now I am on the other side of the state. I miss Lake Michigan.

At 21:23, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your festives are much greener than the wine-blushed populations we see in northern Missouri. Nice photos.

At 23:22, Blogger Ur-spo said...

Lovely beetles.

At 14:12, Blogger rodger said...

It looks like the festive beetle at the bottom is feasting on a bee. No?

At 07:21, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Rodger, I think it's an ant. There were lots of them in the area and they are a preferred prey of many tiger beetles.


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