Saturday, June 2, 2018

Around the Back Bay on a Hot Day

Whew!  Here it was, only the first day of June yesterday, and I was sweltering in the city. So off I went to walk around the back bay of Moreau Lake, figuring it might be cooler by the water. I don't know if it really was, but I quickly grew distracted by the beauty of the place and focused, of course, on the flora and fauna instead of how hot I felt.

At first glance, it looked as if nothing was blooming along the shore, but a closer look revealed thousands of the tiny, pin-head-sized blooms of our native Small-flowered Forget-me-not (Myosotis laxa). These flowers are so small and pretty, they would make a darling bouquet for a dollhouse.

Also prolific along the shore were the trailing prickly vines of Northern Dewberry (Rubus flagellaris). Later in the summer, these vines will bear tart but tasty fruit.

Up where the sand was hotter and dryer, I found many plants of Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium), a native wildflower that is related to our irises.

Up where the shoreline met the forest, I found a big beautiful shrub of Round-leaved Dogwood (Cornus rotundifolia) bearing clusters of tiny four-petaled white flowers.

Maple-leaved Viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium) also prefers the shade of the woods, although it obviously didn't mind a stray beam of sunshine lighting up its flower clusters just starting to open their buds.

Luckily, I am not allergic to pine pollen, so I could admire at close range the pollen-laden male flowers of the Pitch Pines (Pinus rigida) that line the shore.

Here was the flower that took the prize for beauty today:  our lovely native Blue Flag (Iris versicolor) growing in scattered patches close to the water.

What a spectacular wildflower!

And here was a pretty little yellow moth that was fluttering along the shore.  According to the folks at, this is a moth of the Xanthotype genus.  They also added that "species identification is not possible with certainty, except by genitalic examination."  Since I didn't get a clear shot of the moth's naughty bits, Xanthotype will have to suffice for now.

A truly amazing insect experience awaited me along a sandy stretch of beach my friend Sue and I call the "Odonata Shore."  Here, at this particular south-facing spot, the very air is almost always alive with darting, flitting, zooming dragonflies and damselflies.  I know this photo doesn't show the constant motion of these insects in the air above the sand, but I think you can clearly make out the 25 or so male Chalk-fronted Corporal dragonflies resting on the fallen log.

Here's a closer look at those dragonflies, showing the two bars on the thorax that resemble the military insignia that suggested this species' common name.  I have no idea what suggested their scientific name, Ladona julia.  Or where the "chalk-fronted" part of their common name came from, since the chalky whiteness appears on their rears instead of their fronts.  But this mass perching behavior is quite typical of this dragonfly.  I see it every year.


Woody Meristem said...

Very nice photo. Yes, it's too darn hot.

Ron Gamble said...

I think the "chalk-fronted" is for the two forward whitish bars on the top of the thorax.