Flora and fauna of the Athens County area, and occasionally habitats outside Ohio. Subject matter will consist of both interpretive material and taxonomic issues in plant and animal identification.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Early Summer Hiking

This is White Beardtongue, Penstemon digitalis, a common if not abundant species in bloom right now. I actually stopped at this location in hopes of getting Hairy Beardtongue, the purple flowering species that I knew was there, but alas, it was done and gone already. You snooze you lose.

I was walking around a dry upland site, our prairie plot actually, so I thought I'd see what else was around. This is Small Sundrops Oenothera perennis, a four petaled member of the Evening Primrose family. While there were none blooming, in the past I had also recorded the Large Sundrops from the same location.

Hedge Bindweed, Convolvulus sepium, or Calystegia, is abundant in disturbed sites. It looks very similar to Upright Bindweed C. spithamaea, but unlike this common name implies, Hedge Bindweed is a sprawling vine.

While usually just passed up as a plain fleabane, I've always noticed something different about these at this site. I call this Narrow-leaved Fleabane, Erigeron strigosus. It has a stem with fewer leaves than the others, and they are very thin or linear. It is also known as Prairie Fleabane or Lesser Daisy Fleabane.

After visiting our prairie, I decided to pop in at another prairie grassland on the Wayne National Forest. This site is well known for the abundance of Henslow's Sparrows, and I was also lucky enough to see and hear a singing Blue Grosbeak, which was a biggie for me!  Of course neither cooperated for pictures. I had to settle for a field full of these small but pretty flowers. Deptford Pink and Blue-eyed Grass. Unless subjected to intense light, they rarely bloom indoors after picking.

Growing throughout open fields is the White Bedstraw. This may or may not be the same species as Wild Madder. Unlike other bedstraws which are weak stemmed and tend to fall on other plants, this species is erect growing. It's commonly seen right now with the Yellow Bedstraw.

Flying around the fields was one of our most common skippers, the Silver-spotted Skipper. Named after the spot under the wing, it's more white than silver.

This is a female Black Swallowtail. The males have a much broader row of yellow spots on the front wings. You can see how they fade out on females. Because the backside of the hindwing looks similar to the Pipevine Swallowtail, it is often discussed that this is a mimic species. Female Spicebush Swallowtails also have blue in their hind wings, but the outer row of yellow spots is green on the Spicebush.

1 comment:

  1. Dennis, nice post! I've seen a couple of species of penstemon for the first time and looking forward to seeing more. I found a cool skipper in the field yesterday with a distinct "eye" mark on its wing. I'll email it to you - maybe you can lead me in the right direction.