Friday, August 7, 2009

Some Critter Companions Along the Shore

Thursday, August 6. For a change, it wasn't raining cats and dogs. Instead, it was raining frogs. At least, that's what it seemed like as I made my way along a quiet shore of Lake Moreau. With every step, a shower of little frogs, just out of the tadpole stage, I'd guess, went leaping off in all directions. The one in this photo -- a leopard frog or a pickerel? -- was less than two inches long. It must have thought it was camouflaged, because it didn't move while I shot its photo.

Here's another critter against a log, and one that signals approaching autumn to me. It's not until about this time each year that I first hear crickets singing outside my window at night. The katydids are making quite a racket as well.

This lovely deer must have been asleep, for I nearly stepped on it before it leapt away 50 feet or so, then turned to look at me. This photo makes it look like the deer is wearing a crown of golden leaves, like some kind of forest nymph. Well, why not?

The deer was resting near some Bear Oak trees (Quercus ilicifolia), with the prettiest bright green acorns that look like they're wearing tweed woolen caps. Do deer eat acorns? But these don't look quite ripe.

Of course, there were dragonflies everywhere, but this one's the only one that sat for a portrait. Is this a Whitetail Dragonfly? The tail doesn't seem quite fat enough, but I'm no expert, that's for sure.

I found the first Groundnut (Apios americana) flowers of the season, actually smelling them before I saw them. These convoluted blooms with a heady fragrance grow on a vine that has a roundish tuber for a root. I've heard that this tuber is good to eat (these plants are related to peanuts) and could help sustain you if you're lost in the woods.

I find their beauty sustaining in its own way.


swamp4me said...

Your dragonfly looks like a widow skimmer. Great photos, as usual! And your site will finally allow me to post a comment!!!

Woodswalker said...

Thank you, Swampy, I suspected as much, but I needed confirmation from experts such as yourself. I'm so glad the way is now clear for your always instructive and welcome comments. I don't know why this "comment" business is so full of glitches.