Sunday, July 12, 2015

Before and After the Storm

For a while, I was getting out to hike, bird and photograph on a regular basis. Lately, it seems to rain every day, or I am volunteering, or being on Nana duty. The weather map has shown a stalled front right over the Ohio River for weeks. But Saturday morning, the sun came out, and the rain predictions were low, so Dick and I headed out to Beckley Creek to enjoy the wildflowers.
Century 21 Parks sowed these field with wildflowers, and the result has been outstanding. We saw kayakers heading into Floyd's Fork. The water was quite high and the kayakers without life jackets - a bad combination. A family lost several members over July 4th when their rented boat crashed into construction barges on the Ohio River, tipping over at night during the fireworks program. They too weren't wearing life jackets. So sad.
As we walked the trails, we tried to identify the flowers, with some success and some failure. The blue Chickory is not native to Kentucky, but doesn't seem to be so invasive as other immigrants.
 The biggest confusion arose over the many yellow plants with rays. We could tell by the leaf of this that is it Cup Plant, which we have in our garden.
 Gray-headed Cone flower is pretty easy to tell. The heads are gray when it first blooms, but turn brown as they mature.
I think this is some kind of Tickseed. The beetle didn't care. This arrangement of small flowers at the center surrounded by rays is an evolutionary success.  I guess the plant gets the maximum chance of reproduction for a minimum of effort.
I used to know many butterflies and dragonflies at first glance, but now I have to take their pictures and look them up when I get home.
But sometimes, even that doesn't work if I can't find them in the book. These two have similar markings on their backs, and I bet they will end up being the same species. I am looking for the email of a bug expert to see if she can help.
Teasel comes in white and purple versions. Watch as their small flowers appear from the bottom and grow towards the top of the thorny structure. All sorts of bugs love them.
Queen Anne's Lace has always been one of my favorites. Look for the drop of "blood" in the center shed by the Queen as she makes these lacy flowers. Then when they finish blooming, they fold up into baskets.
After one solitary day of sunshine, we awoke to thunder and heavy rain on Sunday morning, lasting several hours. Only about 80 people made it to church this morning, and we decided to drive around the block when the street flooded in front of our house. A neighbor said he measured almost 4 inches in his rain gauge from the storm, and more is predicted for tomorrow. It has been an unusually wet summer this year.