After a replenishing rain…

The park feels shiny and new this morning after yesterday’s rain. The pond is full and clear, and the flowers have perked up nicely. With the pond full, the stream to the river is running again, and those little fish, maybe darters, were already in it by the middle of yesterday afternoon. The river went up about a foot, based on the fresh strandline location, and has already receded much of that distance.

The wild evening primrose (Oenothera biennis), which we’ve been seeing for over a month, looked especially crisp this morning. The brown-eyed susans and jewelweed also appeared rejuvenated.

I finally found a red-spotted purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax) that was willing to work with me and show off both its underside red spots and its topside purple patches.

Here’s a striking red and black dragonfly that might be a cherry-faced meadowhawk (Sympetrum internum) or a ruby meadowhawk (Sympetrum rubicundulum) on the mudflats, and another painted lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui), which seem to be everywhere all of a sudden, warming up in the morning sun on the parking lot pavement.

Here’s yet another pink-edged sulphur (Colias interior)¬†contentedly, for a change, sipping nectar from a bull thistle blossom, and yet another eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus), a male this time, doing the same.

Speaking of sipping nectar, did anyone see the blurb in yesterday’s NYT Science Times on the recent discovery about how honey bees drink nectar? It turns out that they can either sip it or lap it, depending on how viscous it is. “Once again, insects prove to be more complicated than scientists thought they were.” Well, these aren’t technically “honey bees”, but perhaps they are just as versatile. Man, that bull thistle sure is popular these days.

Finally, continuing with the nectar sipping theme, I have at long last captured a recognizable image, if just barely, of a hummingbird feeding on the jewelweed growing along the river trail and recently revived by the rain. Our location, the green back, white throat, and white tips on her tail feathers all suggest a female ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris).

She visited about a half dozen blossoms as I did my best to aim, zoom, and focus. Sadly, the light was low, and this is the best I’ve managed to do so far. I’ve spotted hummingbirds several times before in the park, but they have usually been zipping through the air at the time, so I’ve captured only one other picture, from back in May, before now.

Wonders just never cease, eh?

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.

%d bloggers like this: