Happy Labor Day.

It was cooler and breezier this morning than yesterday, the park was just about empty, and this young deer took advantage of the moment to fill up on acorns in front of the Benjamin Church House. I’m sure the squirrels up in the tree busily knocking down the acorns were thrilled about that.

The beaver continue to make some progress on the couple of cottonwood trees, but it is not as obvious as on previous mornings.

Perhaps they’ve been too busy harvesting arrowhead roots (Sagittaria) instead, which I read have been “prized for millennia as a reliable source of starch and carbohydrates.” Apparently “Indian people [sic] often sought caches of Sagittaria tubers stored by muskrat and beaver.” At least I hope that’s what’s going on. Here’s what patches of arrowheads, just off the mudflats, look like after a harvest.

Also along the river, our old buddy, the dryad’s saddle, aka pheasant’s back mushroom (Cerioporus squamosus) looks like it’s going through “the “pig nose” stage” one more time.

Back on the mudflats, yet another knotweed, this one goes by the names lady’s thumb, spotted lady’s thumb, Jesusplant, and redshank (Persicaria maculosa), is in full bloom and feeding the bumblebees.

Finally, this good-sized spider, perhaps a spotted orb-weaver (Neoscona crucifera), has woven quite an impressive web, easily 2 feet in diameters, strung between a tree branch and the tall grasses below. It’s in the same family, Araneidae, as our black and yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia), and we’ll have to wait for a nice heavy dew for a decent picture of the web.

And that’s that. Nary a bird today, well except for robins and chickadees, of course. Perhaps the rest all took advantage of the stiff breeze out of the north today and are well on their way to warmer destinations. Bon Voyage!

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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