Monday, July 28, 2014

July 27, 2014: Erv's Field Notes #70

 Eastern Forktail. 4/26/12 (Erv Klaas)

Sunday, July 20, 2014, Sunny and warm, slight southerly breeze, Temperature 84 degrees F.

I took a walk with my camera today looking for (you guessed it) dragons and damsels. I parked in the southwest parking lot and walked the rustic trail along the southern shore of the west arm of the south lake. This is not a maintained trail but one created by fishermen and dragon hunters. Part of the trail has been flooded by high water for several weeks but today it was dry and overgrown with tall vegetation, mostly reed canary grass. Pondweed has increased just off shore and is beginning to produce fruiting bodies. This plant can grow in several feet of clear water. It produces tubers in the bottom sediment and sends up long stems to the surface with large oval floating leaves. Fruiting bodies (not exactly flowers) project above the water and are about one-half inch in diameter and six inches to eight inches long. Both dragonflies and damselflies like to perch on these fruiting bodies and lay eggs among the floating leaves. Pondweeds provide underwater habitat for a variety of aquatic organisms including small fish which can escape predators and also find food.

I saw the following species of dragonflies: Widow Skimmer (8 males and 1 female laying eggs), Eastern Pondhawk (4 males), Eastern Amberwing (8 males), Common Green Darner (5 males and 1 pair laying eggs), Halloween Pennant (3 males), Flag-tailed Spineyleg (1 female). The Spineyleg was flying ahead of me and hiding in the tall grass. Finally, I was able to approach close enough to get several photographs. This dragonfly is large and colorfully marked with a club tail. The male’s tail is bright orange and red.

I saw the following damselflies: Eastern Forktail (4 males, 3 females, 4 immatures), Familiar Bluet (2 males, and 1 pair), one unidentified Bluet (still trying to identify it from photo.

The following texts accompany photos taken by others and published on Kevin Kane’s blog. You can view these at
Erv Klaas

The prairies are blooming beautifully right now with several colorful species of wildflowers. This is a great time to enjoy nature’s art and look for butterflies and other pollinators amongst the flowers!
- Tyler Harms.

Currently, there are three milkweed species blooming at the Park (Swamp, Butterfly, & Common). The Swamp Milkweed (left) can be found in prairie areas with moist soil and along the edges of prairie potholes. They bloom July through August. The Butterfly Milkweed (center) can be found in dry, open areas. Of the three, this is the most abundant milkweed present at the Park. Numerous plants are found along the east side of the main lakes and to the north of Ponds N and M. This species blooms from June to September. The Common Milkweed (right) can be found throughout the Park. –Wolf. Oesterreich

Purple Prairie Clover is in bloom in many areas of the Park, especially along east side of the main lakes. This member of the legume family (Fabaceae) is found througout the Midwest, in native prairies and relics on well-drained or dry soils. 7/11/14 –Wolf. Oesterreich.

Numerous Rattlesnake Master plants, a member of the Parsley family (Apiaceae), can be found in the prairie areas of the Park. Each "head" contains many flowers and when in bloom, the white bracts will be quite visible. So far I have not found any plant in bloom, but they are close. 7/6/14—Wolf. Oesterreich.

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