Saturday, August 30, 2014

August 30, 2014: Erv's Field Notes #71

Sunflower at dusk on the east side of the north lake. 8/30/14 (Kevin Kane)

Saturday, August 30, 2014. Sunny, no wind 79 degrees F.

I parked in the southwest parking lot and walked the trail on the west side that leads to the upland. The installation of the sanitary sewer has left a wide scar of bare soil across the landscape parallel to the trail. This will eventually be reseeded in prairie. The sewer is necessary to allow housing developments to the west and north of the park.

I stopped several times to take pictures of prairie flowers and pollinators such as bumblebees, honeybees, soldier beetles, and wasps. Some of the flowers in bloom were rigid goldenrod, field thistle, Canada goldenrod, sawtooth sunflower, Jerusalem artichoke, beebalm, and blue lobelia. Indian grass and big bluestem is also in bloom. I counted 10 male Band-winged Meadowhawks along the trail. This is one of the small red dragonflies that fly each year in late summer. I also saw a Ruby Meadowhawk and several White-faced Meadowhawks.

I left the trail and made my way through reed canary grass along a small creek that leads into what we call Pond G, part of the north wetland complex. I was looking for the damselfly, Ebony Jewelwing, along the creek but I saw none. This creek was dry for an extended period in 2012 and 2013 and the drought may have caused them to be extirpated here. The Ebony Jewelwing is almost always found along streams and this is the only suitable habitat in the park for this species. I finally made it to the edge of the pond and immediately spotted a damselfly perched in the grass. I tentatively identified it as a Slender Spreadwing, but a few pictures taken with my long lens will help me confirm this when I get home. The only other damselfly I saw was a male Eastern Forktail. Several Widow Skimmers were flying over the pond. I could not find a decent deer path pack to the main trail so I had to work my way through the tall prairie grass. The big bluestem was well over my head; this is a very good year for prairie grasses. By the time I got back to the trail my shoes were untied and my socks and pants were full of sticky seeds from tic trefoil. I have heard that seeds like these inspired the invention of velcro.

Erv Klaas

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