Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Walk on the Orange Trail

I haven't been doing as much walking lately. It's just too hot and humid. And, what walks I do are the ones that are out in the sun, because I hate the deer flies that lurk in the shade worse than the heat and humidity. That said, I did make it out to the Orange Trail yesterday, and had quite a nice walk.

I didn't know quite what to expect on the trail itself, because we had that gully washer of a rainstorm the day before. However, the trail is sandy, so everything drained quickly and was nice and dry by the time I did my walk.

I hustled through the wooded Blue Trail, swatting at deer flies all the way. Then it was on to the Orange Trail, through the woods at the beginning of this trail, and onto the meadow. Phew! I had no sooner hit the meadow then I saw this guy. Think it's a Monarch do you? Nope, it's about half the size of a Monarch, which means that it is a Viceroy butterfly. Pretty thing, just like its bigger cousin.

And, a little farther along, I saw this beauty. I did some research last night, but couldn't find out what it was. I really do want to know, though, because I think it's absolutely gorgeous. So, I'll be doing more research, and welcome help, as always.

Summer is the season of insects. I was so happy to see all of the honeybees. They were on every flower, buzzing and humming as they gathered their nectar.

And, there, in the sky, can you see him? That's a gigantic dragonfly that was hovering over the meadow, perfectly still, just like a living helicopter. You may have to click on the picture to see him.

Where there are insects, there are usually flowers. True in this case.

There was Spotted Knapweed everywhere. You can see from this picture how it has crowded out everything else where it is growing.

It's a pity that such a beautiful flower is so malignant.

There were Black-Eyed Susans in abundance.

And, a few Brown-Eyed Susans.

The Deptford Pinks are still blooming. That has been one of the major surprises in my education. I am amazed at how long the season for a few of these wildflowers is. Some, like Butter and Eggs, seems to bloom for such a short while, then fade away. But, so many of them bloom for weeks. Deptford Pink is one of these long bloomers.

Near the end of the trail, in a area of moist meadow, I spotted some Joe Pye Weed, just beginning to bloom. The Red Trail has some that are much closer, and I'll have to head over there next week, to see if I can get some better shots.

Then it was a hustle through the woods again (good exercise at least) and back to the Trailhead. There, I had a decision to make. Did I want to go home, or did I want to make a quick trip across the road to the swamp? The swamp won.

The first thing I saw was this gorgeous flower. It stymied me for a bit, until I realized it was Chicory. I'm so used to seeing it as it grows along the roadside, that I didn't recognize it here in the swamp where, in better conditions, it had grown bigger and more beautiful.

I'm still thinking (hoping) that this is Winged Loosestrife, and not its more notorious cousin Purple Loosestrife.

The Mystery Flower for the day. Such a pretty little thing. You'd think it would be easy to identify. But, dumb me, I forgot to take a good picture of the leaves, so I just haven't been able to tell what it is.

And, it was at the swamp that I found the big surprise of the day. At first glance you say that it's just another Black-eyed Susan. But, look closer, and you'll see that it's double. I wonder how often that happens with this flower?

You know, I guess it's like anything else. Sometimes conditions aren't ideal, but, if you push yourself a little, and say that you're going to do something, regardless, you end up having a great time, and learning more about the world around you -- and yourself.


Upupaepops said...

I think you mystery butterfly is one of the checkerspots or fritillaries, notoriously challenging to id

love the dragonfly photo and the double BE Susan

Sharon said...

As usual, your walk produced even more eye candy! I love looking at the flowers (and of course the other things you find on the trail!). If I was taking the pictures, I would be captioning them - "Here's a pretty flower, and here's another pretty flower".

Believe it or not, you are giving me an education and a little of it stays in my head! :-)

Roses and Lilacs said...

I've never seen your mystery butterfly in this area. If you can't ID it, try visiting GardenWebs butterfly forum. Posting a photo will probably get you a quick response. Marnie

IsobelleGoLightly said...

Very pretty! I'd like to come gallop along that trail and make all the butterflies go up into the air! hee hee

Cat said...

Lovely photos, and I don't recall the name of that butterfly, either. I agree with Marnie above, go to a butterfly forum, the folks about would set you aright as to the name. It looks like you have some wonderful trails to travel... Even if you have the blasted deerflies. Icky.


Tina said...

As always amazing photos, you are really doing an amazing job with taking pictures.

barefootheart said...

I love the blue of chicory, one of the clearest, prettiest blues in the garden, wild or domesticated! Good find on the checkerspot!