A Day in the Life… Part 28

The native rhododendron is finally done blooming for another year, but the rains keep falling. I am thinking about shifting my priorities and starting construction on an ark in Lake Odonata!

Despite the wet weather, life goes on. This little fellow below is none the worst as he always has a shelter handy. The Box Turtle was working his way from the pond, across the gravel driveway, towards the wet meadow.

Being the curious sort, I had to turn the terrapin over and check its plastron (bottom shell). The shallow indentation confirmed that this is a male. Females would have a nearly level plastron.

I returned the turtle to the upright position. By now his plastron and carapace (top shell) were tightly closed. A survival instinct and adaptation that have serve the box turtles well.

Earlier in the week, Nora had asked me if I had put a dragonfly in the Spring Peeper tadpole tank. To which I replied, “no?” When I want over to look, I discovered that a Shadow Darner larva had been living in the aquarium and no doubt feasting on the small tadpoles. It was probably brought in with a clump of algae that provides food for the developing tadpole.
The adult had recently emerged from the exuvia (the larva exoskeleton). I took the lid of the aquarium outside so that once the insect’s exoskeleton had hardened it would be able to fly on its way in search of all manner of other flying insects to munch on.
Our sixth native orchid is now in bloom. Downy Rattlesnake Plantain (Goodyera pubescens). This is one of our more common orchids and is the only one at Wahkeena that has evergreen leaves. The white net-veined leaves form a rosette at the base of the flower stock.
The abundant moisture and warmth continue to “feed” the fungi population. Below, the White Pine Boletes (Suillus americanus) are popping up wherever there are White Pine trees.
Back in the woods, what few flowers are blooming are very small in blossom size. Below is Lopseed (Phryma leptostachya). The species name refers the the slender flower spike. Once the flower is pollinated and as the seed matures, they begin to “lop” over (down).
But the biggest attraction at Wahkeena this week has been the Hummingbird Moths. This moth is also known as the Clearwing or Hummingbird Clearwing, and is a member of the Small Sphinx Moth family.
(Photo by Nora Steele)
The moths have been necturing on the Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) at the beginning of the gravel driveway that leads to the nature center. Hundreds of photographs of these moths have no doubt been taken as every visitor must pass this spot. One visitor was almost moved to tears at seeing her first ever Hummingbird Moth! (Hi, Lynn). Check out the Wahkeena Facebook page for a short video.
Well, time to get back to ark building.
Posted by Tom

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