Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Stalking the Wild Pogonia (and other orchids)

 When photographer Jeff Nadler asked me to show him around the Ice Meadows yesterday, I jumped at the chance.  Who cares if I'd already been there just the day before?  I could visit this wonderful stretch of Hudson Riverbank every day of the year and always find something there to amaze me.  And besides,  I knew exactly where to find the orchids Jeff needed to photograph to carry out his assignment for Adirondack Life magazine, an article about New York's native orchids to be published sometime next year.

I had scouted the area on Sunday and found one of those orchids, Rose Pogonia, not only already in bloom, but perhaps even on its way out, with many of the flowers already touched with brown.  So I'd sent Jeff an email, telling him he had better come photograph them fast.

Luckily, as we explored various sites along this stretch of the Hudson north of Warrensburg, we found many groups of this beautiful little orchid still in their prime.

Unfortunately, the wind was blowing so hard and the sun was so bright, conditions were not optimum for achieving perfect photos, so Jeff was determined to spend the rest of the afternoon on the river, waiting to see if the wind would fall and the light would soften as day moved into evening.  And his efforts certainly paid off, to judge from the exquisite photos he sent me today, of the Rose Pogonia as well as of a second orchid we found along the river, the Shining Ladies' Tresses.  I can't wait to see the finished article when this issue of Adirondack Life comes out.

 There were more than orchids to fascinate us as we wandered these shores.  I just love the tousled look of Alpine Bulrush, especially when the wind is whipping that wild white hair around.

A big surprise was an abundant patch of One-flowered Pyrola we found as we made our way through the woods on the way to our cars.  It looked like a handful of shining stars had been tossed down on the forest floor.

Since One-flowered Pyrola dangles its blossom downward on an arching stem, you have to turn it upward to see its pretty face with the most unusual stamens.

Another surprise was a stunning black-and-white White Admiral Butterfly that came flitting around us, landing in perfect pose on a nearby bush.  But then, by the time we unpacked our cameras, the butterfly had fluttered far above us, coming to rest on the other side of this overhead sunlit leaf, so that all we could see was its silhouette.

I was luckier getting a shot of this tiny Hoverfly visiting the bloom of a Rough Cinquefoil:  lucky because the fly stayed put, and also lucky that my camera decided to focus on what I wanted it to.  I just love the intricate pattern on the insect's abdomen and the delicate tracery of its iridescent wings.

I remember some years ago taking an even better photo of a Hoverfly, showing more clearly that marvelous iridescence of the wings.  I wanted to see it again, so I'm posting it once more.

P.S.:  I'm off tomorrow for a few days in central Massachusetts near the Quabbin Reservoir.  Who knows what natural wonders I may witness? 


squirrel said...

I have been out of town and haven't had a chance to read your blog so today I made the time and i am sure glad I did, because you have such good photos and stories to tell. I find myslef looking for flower to post on my own blog so I can share them with you. Thanks so much for your posts and comments.

Bird said...

Hoverflies are just exquisite, aren't they? I really love your picture of the white admiral, I can almost feel the sun and dappled shade through those leaves. I'm sure it was a beautiful insect, but seeing it like that is so atmospheric.

June said...

I am so grateful to you for these pictures. Thank you for seeing the tiniest little beauties, and for sharing them!