Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blue Skies, Smooth Water

After two days of drenching rains, that clear blue sky was a welcome sight this morning. How best to enjoy this late-summer day? Why, what could be better than a paddle on the Hudson at Moreau? I parked my car at the Potter Road gate and made my way down through the woods, and soon my canoe was gliding smoothly across the lovely still water, carrying me into quiet bays and around tree-crowned islands.

The Purple Fringed Orchids sure have been surprising us this summer, popping up where we never found them before, and disappearing from former sites. This one caught my eye as I rounded the end of an island.

This lovely arrangement of curving ferns was decorating the bank of that same island.

I could not identify these pretty leaves on reddish wiry stems, tucked in among the fronds of those ferns. I've sent some queries to knowledgeable folks, and if I find out what they are, I'll return to post an update.

Cardinal Flowers still blazed along the banks, lighting up the shadiest woods.

Well, here's a surprise! Purple-headed Sneezeweed (Helenium flexuosum). I'd found it years ago at a different location on this same island, but I hadn't been able to find it again for at least five years. This species is native to more southern states, but is making its way northward in recent decades.

The purple head is the most distinctive feature to distinguish this from our local green-headed Sneezeweeds (Helenium autumnale), but another distinguishing feature is its winged stems.

This bee-imitating Dronefly doesn't care if this Sneezeweed's a recent interloper. The pollen tastes the same to him, it seems.

Here's a flower that's about as invisible as that Sneezeweed is showy. You really have to hunt to find it, since it's very small and the same color as the stalk and leaves of its plant, called Water Purslane.

I'm storing up images of this August riverscape to see me through another winter. How soothing it is to drift among these coves, trailing my fingers in the cool water, and welcoming the warm sunshine on my back.

How many Red Efts can you count in this picture? After all the rain we've had of late, the path through the woods was damp and cool and littered with dozens of tiny writhing red bodies. I had to walk carefully as I carried my boat up the hill to my car.


Anonymous said...

Enchanting post - I've never seen an Eft, but your picture made me think of an Escher print. Thanks for the canoe trip!

Elizabeth said...

So many Efts! I saw one on my walk yesterday, too, and you're probably right about all the rain bringing them out. I love those little creatures. :)

Carolyn H said...

It was a lovely day yesterday. Unfortunately, I couldn't spend nearly as much time outside as you did. I love the efts. The kids at adventure camp caught several of them just before camp ended.

Louise said...

You did it again. I had never heard of an eft, so I had to go searching. Now, I know something new!

squirrel said...

Those red efts really are cool aren't they. In my area of WV Wingstem is the common name most often used for Helenium autumnale. They are always full of interesting insects and stuff.

Ellen Rathbone said...

Oooo - look at 'em all! (Efts.) I don't think I've seen an eft since I left NY!