Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bog Meadow Abloom and Abuzz

I just had time today for a quick jaunt along Bog Meadow Trail near Saratoga Springs, which, despite the damp cool weather, was blooming and buzzing as if it were midsummer.

When I first saw these very large hover flies (probably Eristalis tenax), I though they were bees, since they were visiting every bloom in their paths. And they look like bees, with those stripey, fuzzy bodies. This fly was at least an inch long. They don't sting, but their similar appearance to bees could possibly warn away predators.

You have to look really close to notice the itsy-bitsy flowers of Deertongue Grass. It helps to put a yellow notebook cover behind them. I first found the fluffy red flowers last summer, but this is the first time I noticed those dangling black parts. Hmmm. . . . Are those the styles? Or stamens? Anybody know?

I do know that these Y-shaped things are the styles of Partridgeberry flowers.

And these little prongs sticking up are the staminate parts. These two different sexes were growing in entirely separate patches, quite a distance apart.

A really interesting thing about Partridgeberry is that it takes two flowers to make one berry, and both flowers of the pair have to be pollinated for a berry to grow.

Winterberry was just coming into bloom, with the branches still holding many clusters of tight little ball-shaped buds. I noticed that only staminate flowers were blooming today. Where are the pistillate ones?

There was lots of fluttering along the trail, but only a very few insects stopped long enough for me to take a photo. I know that this butterfly is a Skipper, because of its short fat body and the way it holds its wings, but I don't know which kind.

Aha! Gotcha! I chased this Pearl Crescent all up and down the trail and had just given up any hope of taking a photo, when finally it landed. And stayed there. Open winged. So beautiful in its complementary surroundings. Thank you, dear little butterfly. You made my day.


Wayne said...

Hi Jackie,
Nice work "catching" all these skittish little critters. I think the skipper may be an Indian Skipper, judging from the closed forewing posture, as well as color patterns, but it's hard to tell. With your first-hand views of it, you can probably identify it on a wonderful Web site for ID of northeastern skippers: http://www.rkwalton.com/skip.html
Click on the pictures to see the short video ID lessons.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Thanks, Wayne, for your suggestion regarding the skipper. I looked at photos, and agree with your opinion. Thanks, too, for the link to a very helpful site for all kinds of nature information.