Saturday, August 8, 2015
I Was Strollin' Along on Moreau's Back Bay
What a gorgeous day for a stroll around the back bay of Moreau Lake: puffy white clouds in a radiant blue sky, just a light breeze to dry the sweat of my brow but not ruffle the mirror-like surface, and a healing knee that was pain-free enough to put up with a bit of a scramble over a few fallen logs. Keeping mostly to the sandy shore, I actually made it all the way around!
At first glance I could hardly detect any flowers blooming in the dry sand, but a closer inspection revealed the tiny yellow curling blooms and blood-red buds of the almost invisible Canada St. Johnswort.
Higher up toward the edge of the woods were patches of puffy white Boneset, a true magnet for all kinds of pollinators, including this small Bumblebee and an amorous pair of Long-horned Flower Beetles.
I remembered a patch of Pearly Everlasting that grows about half way around the bay, and today I found they were in full bloom, with their globular white flowers, sharp-pointed petals as crisp as straw.
The air was deliciously scented from thick stands of Wild Mint, which released its sharp fragrance every time my leg brushed against its leaves.
Here and there among the Wild Mint's pale lavender blooms I spied a huge ebony-black wasp, its wings a stunning cobalt blue. I had no fear of leaning in close to take a photo, for this is one of our digger wasps, the Great Black Wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus), a non-aggressive ground-dwelling wasp that feeds on flower pollen.
There were dragonflies everywhere, but only one, this male Widow Skimmer, sat still long enough for me to take its picture as it rested near a patch of False Nettle.
The most exciting moment of my amble today was coming upon this Garter Snake having just a moment before started swallowing what looks to be a good-sized frog. Although much of the frog is well within the snake's swelling body, its legs were still protruding from the snake's mouth.
The snake sped away when I leaned in to take a picture, and I was amazed by how quickly that frog was disappearing down the snake's gullet. This photo was taken only a few seconds after I snapped the one above.
And only a few seconds after that, the frog was just a mere swelling a good deal further down the length of the snake. Amazing!