Sunday, August 4, 2013

August 4, 2013

My favorite identifier of unknown (to me that is) plants and animals helped me out with two plant species this week.  The first, the tall pink flower growing on the shoreline, and posted on July 17th, is the Swamp Milkweed.  This flower is a favorite of butterflies, especially the Monarch.
Swamp Milkweed

The other plant she identified is the tiny yellow waterflower I found last week;  this is the flower of the Bladderwort.  There are several species (Common, Floating, Swollen, Horned), and with a little more work I may figure out which one it is.  (Thank you NV!)

The Bladderwort is a really neat plant, in that it is a carnivore.  The bladders which are under the water are the traps.  They have small appendages located at the opening of the trap which detect tiny aquatic animals that touch the appendages.  The trap then opens and a vacuum sucks its prey into the bladder where it is digested.  Sounds to me like a great storyline for a sci-fi movie!

I did not see any interesting animal activity this week, so I guess this is the time for flowers - I saw the first Nodding Ladies' Tresses blooming today, one of tiniest pretty flowers with a great name.
Nodding Ladies' Tresses

But I did watch a Hummingbird drinking nectar from Linda's Flowers.  I clearly need a camera with a faster shutter to take a picture of a hummingbird.

Today we took a walk down to the dam to investigate a purple flower we noticed, and wanted to make sure it wasn't purple loosestrife - an invasive species, that although beautiful, can completely take over a wetland.  Fortunately it is not Loostrife, but rather Steeplebush.

While at the dam (which by the way, shows the lake is still 3-4 inches above full level) I saw a bright red flower blooming along the edge of the stream flow flowing to Lake Winnisquam.  It is a Cardinal Flower - stop sometime on your way by and you'll see it easily, as the bright red color stands out against the green backdrop.
Cardinal Flower

I had the honor to present some of my observations around Lake Wicwas this weekend at the Lake Wicwas Association Annual meeting at the Wicwas Grange.  It was a lot of fun, and I learned a quite a lot from all the dynamic and enthusiastic people who enjoy the lake, including learning about Norm Harris' Flying Squirrel Circus.  That's a story for another day....
Flying Squirrel  (Taken 28 December 2011)

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