Monday, June 5, 2017

From drought to drought?

 I first discovered the Mountain Ladyslippers at this site around 6 years ago during the third week of June.  During the drought years that followed, they bloomed earlier every year, and were dried up by the third week of June.  This past winter was very rainy so I had hoped for a degree of return to the "normal."  Following a twelve day driving adventure to Pennsylvania and back, I photographed them in full bloom last week on May 31. Yesterday, I went back to chack on them and they are already wilted.  I hope they can hang on for a few days as I am expecting a visitor from France this coming Thursday.  He is traveling a great distance mainly to photograph wild orchids and will stop in Quincy on the 8th.  The Spotted Coralroot, another orchid, that was blooming close by the Ladyslippers has
already finished blooming and sports clusters of pods (see below).  My backup plan, if the Ladyslipper spot is disappointing, will be a drive out to Butterfly Valley where we might see Rein Orchis and a few other orchids.  I will be scouting that area tomorrow.
 Meanwhile, I'm having lots of photo adventures.  Today I found lots of bugs on the wild daisys that I have nicknamed "bug magnets."  My favorites today were a mating pair of Dimorphic Flower Longhorn Beetles and a Spotted Assassin Bug in the act of assassinating another bug of unknown ID.  Hope to post some of those photos later today - if I can get close a decent Internet speed, certainly not at home.  Also will report on what I consider trail destruction that is being billed as trail improvement.  I don't like having a favorite nature walk being overtaken by mobs of bicycle maniacs blasting downhill at high rates of speed.  If I don't stay quite alert, I could easily be run down.  The guys I met yesterday under these conditions were very polite and shared their rationale for this process of trail "improvement," then sped onward.  I can no longer hike this trail with groups of
nature lovers.  Too dangerous.  Besides, most of the trailside wildflowers and visiting wildlife has been killed or scared off.  Progress!


  1. For what it's worth, I found some mountain lady's slippers at Butterfly Valley on June 2nd. I only noticed two specimens, but they were in good shape at the time. They were near "Fern Glen," maybe 20 feet before the rein orchids (coming from Quincy). They're not visible from the road; you have to climb up that little hill and look around a bit. As for the rein orchids, they were just barely beginning to form buds that day. Also, the vast majority of the spotted coralroots were past prime, but a couple specimens looked like they were just getting started.

  2. Thanks for that observation, Tim. I plan to check the Butterfly Valley area soon.