And then there was one…

There were some low clouds and fog this morning that let the crickets sing until 8am. Then the sun burned through, the crickets quit, and the cicadas took over. Aah, August.

Only the young cormorant was on the pond this morning. The night-heron has probably moved on, and the great blue heron might have been there earlier, but either ate its fill or got spooked before I arrived.

In any case, I am contractually obligated to come up with a headline every single day, and they can’t all be winners.

I didn’t see anything really camera-worthy until the wildflower meadow by the boat launch when this striking female eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus), not of the dark morph this time, floated by and enticed me into taking a couple of shots. How could I not, right?

I followed it first to the chicory and then to the bull thistle before it took off for good, and once it was gone, something else on the bull thistle caught my eye. The plant was crawling with crickets. Well, actually, they were all just sitting there motionless, not even crawling, and they appear to be differential grasshoppers (Melanoplus differentialis), not even crickets, but yikes, it was weird.

Also in the meadow, I noticed this striking little wildflower, the partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata), about which I read “the seed is one of the major food items of northern bobwhite and other quail species because it remains in sound condition throughout the winter and early spring.” That’s exciting, because we haven’t seen a bobwhite yet. Maybe later this fall, eh?

Heading south along the river trail, I spotted what might be our first aster of the season, perhaps a roughed up New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae). Woo hoo!

Further south along the river trail, I came across what looks like yet another tussock moth caterpillar, this time white hickory (Lophocampa caryae), which I read we are advised not to touch because “the hairs of the Hickory Tussock caterpillar, which has black tufts on its back and black spikes, can cause an allergic reaction or rash for some people who make contact with the insect. The caterpillars have microscopically barbed setae, which can cause inflammation.” Good to know.

Finally, I stopped at the tunnel under the parkway to check for moths, and as I inspected the lannon stone blocks that line the west entrance, look what I finally noticed. That’s right, yet another fossil. This time it’s a trilobite that has been coated with a layer of flowstone, a form of Speleothem, that occurs “on manmade structures as a result of calcium hydroxide being leached from concrete, lime or mortar.”

And that’s everything I’ve got for today. Remember, we go to press with the pictures we have, not with the pictures we wish we had.

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.

2 thoughts on “And then there was one…

  1. Andy- you are the Charles Darwin of the Wisconsin parks. It is only a matter of time before you discover a new species of something in that park! Love this blog


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