Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Now I'm a Believer!

 In SPRING, that is.  Despite some of my gloomy forecasts over the past few weeks, today I saw the first really colorful gus visiting some of my favorite spring wildflowers.  I know we still have a drought underway, but today I saw so much beauty in the forest that I was able to stay upbeat.  The opening and closing photos today are of the Purple Milkweed, also called Heartleaf Milkweed, Asclepias cordifolia.  I'm beginning to see some healthier specimens.  The first ones reported here several weeks ago were blooming when only 6 - 8" in height, clearly a response to drought.
 The Checker Bloom, Sidalcea glaucescens, was common along Chandler Road and all the way into Oakland Camp.  Many were being visited by one of the most colorful beetles around, the Checkered Clerid, Trichodes ornatus.  The common name comes from the family name, Cleridae.  This beetle will rest on many different species of plants.  I'm not sure if it dines on all of them, or just dines on some and rests on others.
 There are much fewer Mountain Ladyslippers in the area where I usually see them, and for a while i wondered if they'll bloom this year.  Today, for the first time, I saw a few with buds. (above)  This lady slipper is scientifically named Cypripedium montanum.  People drive long distances to see this one.
 This beautiful white blossom, soon to be common on our roadsides, is called Orchard Morning-glory by those who like it, and Bindweed by those who don't.  Either way, it's Convulvulus arvense to botanists.  AS for the bee, when I try to identify it I come to a page with around 25 species that all look alike to me.
This last shot of Purple Milkweed has a visited.  The Checkered Clerid beetle.  Much more to report, hopefully tomorrow afternoon.  Spring is happening!

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