Well, it seems that I was not truly recovered from my cold of the week before. Climbing Buck Mountain on a hot humid day apparently did me in! I woke up feeling sicker than ever; missed two days of work, and even after going to the doctor (“it’s a virus”), just felt awful the whole next week.
It was the height of the Dog Days as well, weather-wise, an appropriate time to feel sick-as-a-dog. The days were hot and humid. The evenings barely cooled down – one night, it was 80 degrees at 9:30 pm. After a week of lingering indoors in air-conditioned discomfort (when not at work), I felt good enough to go a-walking again. This time I would take it easy! What better tonic than a visit to Mud Pond?
Despite its humble name, Mud pond is one of the most beautiful spots on earth.
I got there early enough to see the morning dew on the raspberry leaves, and to hear or see lots of birds - catbirds, goldfinches, a bluejay, a flycatcher, wrens, herons, crows, a kingfisher, woodducks and an osprey. Heard red-eyes, cherry-birds and wood peewees, still in the west woods. They’ll be leaving soon. A skein of geese flew in from the Big Lake, honking as they came, and landed by the beaver lodge. So fall begins ...
It was high time the blue-curls were out, in a spot I knew of from the year before.
Jackie got some fantastic photos of them this week.
They are a tiny plant - the flowers are ridiculously flamboyant if you look really close:
Waded through the lush pond-side undergrowth, to get to the water’s edge.
Ow ! what was stinging my legs?
Ellen featured this plant in her blog recently – Arrow-leafed Tearthumb. Being a Lazy Botanist, I knew it merely as a Smartweed.
No, it’s because if you walk through a patch of the darn stuff in shorts – it smarts!
The stems are barbed and will raise red-lined welts on your legs. You feel like you’ve been scratched by ten teeny tiny kittens.
My legs were stinging pretty good. And I had been ready to blame it on a bug.
Speaking of bugs – let me show you some of the insect life I saw today. Without a decent field guide (does the Little Golden Book of Insects count?) – I apologize for the generic naming here. If anyone can identify them exactly, let me know!
A dragonfly – meadowhawk, perhaps?
Some kind of weevil – hanging out in American Hazelnut shrubs
A bumblebee enjoying mint –
In the water, whirligig beetles were having a hoedown –
If you look closely (click to enlarge), you can see the beetles themselves –
A grasshopper or locust –
He was wonderfully armored in a sleek aerodynamic way -
Gerardia and a type of Syrphid Fly. I love his “I’m-A-Bee” paint job! -
A beautiful wasp – with waist that would make Audrey Hepburn jealous -
On the way home in the car, driving along Mountain Road, something flew into the open window with a thunk! against the doorframe, & the next thing I know
I pulled over, tugging at my shirt, and saw a little yellowjacket fall onto the seat.
It’s been many years since I can even remember my last bee-sting.
Continuing home, as a painful welt formed on my shoulder, I laughed.