Sunday, June 12, 2016
It wasn't the nicest day for a walk today: chilly and damp, with a strong wind driving that damp chill into every little gap in my jacket. But it wasn't pouring rain, and I'd agreed to walk with a friend along the power-line clearcut that runs along Spier Falls Road at Moreau. Clearcut walks are always good for surprises. And as it turned out, it was a VERY good day for a close-up view of some wonderful insects, stunned into torpor by that very same damp chill.
Our first insect encounter was this large lovely dragonfly, possibly a female Slaty Skimmer, dangling from a Whorled Loosestrife leaf. We started to practice our usual slow dragonfly-shooting stalk, when it soon became obvious this dragonfly wasn't flying anywhere, and we could boldly poke our cameras in as close as we liked.
Not too much later, we came upon this male Calico Pennant dragonfly -- he, too, in such a state of torpor we could approach as close as we desired.
Not too far away was his possible mate, a female Calico Pennant, colored bright yellow in every place the male is colored bright red.
As we ambled along the trail, again and again we came upon these cold-stunned bugs dangling among the plants. This dragonfly is a male Twelve-spotted Skimmer.
And here was a female Twelve-spotted Skimmer. (At least, I think that's what she is!)
This one is a Chalk-fronted Corporal.
And here is a male Widow Skimmer.
I was most delighted to come upon this fuzzy little Bee Fly, for rarely am I able to get this close a look at it, so quickly does it flit from flower to flower, sipping nectar as fast as it can with its needle-thin proboscis. But this little guy was just stuck tight, allowing us to admire it from every angle and even sneak a little stroke of its furry abdomen.
Of course, we engaged in some botanizing, too, and we found this massive patch of Whorled Loosestrife amazing for its visual vibration.
I recalled that this flower, Lysimachia quadrifolia, is one of the common native wildflowers that somehow never got listed as present in Saratoga County. So I did obtain a specimen to press and send off to the New York Flora Association for inclusion in the state records. It was obvious that I wouldn't deplete this population by removing a single stem.
Also abundant along this power-line clearcut were masses of Wild Strawberry, the tiny fruits a deep rich red, just ripe for the picking. The very air was filled with their fruity scent!
And soon my hand -- and then my mouth -- was filled with their fruity deliciousness! Yum!
Here was an odd little surprise we found: a Pink Lady's Slipper flower in perfect bloom, but on a stalk so short the flower barely cleared the ground. So strange! But also, so cute!