Three kingdoms

There were Canada geese on the pond this morning, which we haven’t seen in weeks, but I’ll spare you one more goose picture, and let’s start with some of the other familiar faces.

From the animal kingdom, the mallard family with the one yellow duckling continues to hang out in the oxbow pond beside the river, and all appear to be healthy (top/left). Meanwhile, the baby catfish (kittenfish as my old buddy Mark Purdy recently quipped) can still be found, wiggling vigorously, both in the pond and in the stream on the way to the river (bottom/right).

Yesterday afternoon I spotted on the river what might be the biggest bullfrog I’ve ever seen (top/left). I read they can grow to weigh a pound or more, and I’d be stunned if this one hasn’t already done that. Jabba the Hutt would be proud. For comparison, the little guy beside him (bottom/right) was perched on a leaf in the pond.

Okay, okay, on to the new arrivals, and we’ve been waiting over a week for the first one (top/left), a cicada, ever since we first heard his song! Well, actually, that’s just the empty exuviae, what the ancient Latins called “the remains of an exoskeleton and related structures that are left after” molting. Maybe someday I’ll find one still inside its skin, eh?

Next (bottom/right) is a striking Leconte’s haploa moth (Haploa lecontei) that really preferred hanging out on the bottom side of leaves, but indulged us just long enough for this mediocre shot. Why couldn’t it be nice and sit still like the cicada?

Also a little flighty, I believe we have a ruby meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum rubicundulum) (top/left) striking a pose, and some handsome damselfly (bottom/right), probably a dancer, based on the shape of its wings and the way it’s holding them, but I can’t for the life of me find an image online of one with such a luxurious bronze color. Maybe that’s just an artifact of the bright sun and my camera.

In the plant kingdom, goldenrod is beginning to open (top/left), and I read that “if you see a goldenrod blooming in July,” it’s early goldenrod (Solidago juncea)Motherwort or lion’s tail (Leonurus cardiaca) has been blossoming for a week or so (bottom/left), and herbalists once thought it “useful for removing melancholy vapors from the heart, improving cheerfulness, and settling the wombs of mothers,” not to mention “protect[ing] against evil spirits.”

Finally, in the fungi kingdom, this amazing-looking mushroom might be a young “white-pored version” of chicken of the woods (Laetiporus sulphureus), but don’t trust me with your life on that. You’re better off with the Motherwort.

Auf wiedersehen!

Published by Andrew Dressel

Theoretical and Applied Bicycle Mechanic, and now, apparently, Amateur Naturalist. In any case, my day job is teaching mechanics at UWM.

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