Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mushrooms

I've been watching this group of mushrooms growing on top of a stump at the local county park for a month. The bunch is about two feet in diameter and still growing.

Aren't they beautiful?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Remember the troops;
The wounded, the fallen;
Those who served;
Remember the mothers;
The ones who waited;
Who loved, who mourned.

Remember the children;
Fatherless, Motherless;
For a year or two, forever;
May we always guard what
They suffered for;
Hold freedom dear;
Remember them.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Shooting Star

Even though this wildflower is listed in the "white flower section of my Audubon field guide, it comes in many colors; rose, lilac, in addition to white.

It's such a beautiful plant, you can imagine why it was cultivated by early settlers.   

Friday, May 27, 2011

Wild Geranium

The Indiana woods are filled with the delicate pinkish, almost purple colors of the wild geranium. These flowers bloom for a couple of weeks and then disappear to make room for others.

Wild Geraniums make good garden plants too. They are a compact, non-spreading indigenous wildflower that does well in shady areas.  They can bring color to an early spring garden as well as brighten up the wild woods.       

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Solar Power

It is hard to believe that all this green in Cowles Bog didn't exist one short month ago. A little solar power goes a long way!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mystery bird

This time of year is great to spot different birds that we don't often see flying through Indiana Dunes. This one is a good example.  He's a beautiful bird that I spotted last Sunday and I've been trying to identify since.

I've even got his rather pecular call on video. Some sort of Vireo?

Wild Columbine

I just love finding these delicate little wildflowers in the dappled sunshine of the woods. The flowers hang from delicate stems that seem almost too thin to support the tiny crown like flowers.

Columbines are a native wildflower and butterflies and hummingbirds are said to love them.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Indiana Bananas in Bloom

Pawpaws are blooming all over Coffee Creek. Sometimes called Indiana bananas, they are a native to America fruit that tastes like a creamy banana pie and is shaped and colored somewhat like a papaya on the exterior and just like a cream pie on the inside.

These trees are very pretty, with long banana like leaves that provide shade in the summer.

It would be really great if the fruit would catch on as a healthy alternative to all the non-native trees that are raised for fruit in the U.S. The Indiana Banana wouldn't require a bit of pesticide to grow.  

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fishing Report

The fishing is picking up along the Kankakee River. Bluegills and Crappy are biting like they are half starved. Bigger fish appear to be spawning and will probably be jumping at the hook in a day or two. I spent the afternoon fishing and picked up armies of ticks along the river bank; they're really bad.

Also newly hatched are clouds of mosquitoes that rise out of the tall grass with a roar--they are  actually quite audible.


No wonder the frogs are looking so happy! Be sure to bring the bug stuff when you go.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Green

This year we waited a long time for spring. The leaves were late bursting out on the trees; good for an abundant supply of wildflowers that vie for spring sunshine underneath the trees.

Last week the woods finally turned green; its brilliance filled the eyes; so beautiful in its once a year appearance that it can make even the most appreciative melancholy. It is a beauty that happens seldom and it is a shame to miss one year of it. It is a reminder that life is, indeed too short.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cowles Bog

This is Cowles Bog at the Indiana Dunes. The bog is a special ecosystem in Northwest Indiana filled with unusual plants and fauna.

The DNR is currently fighting an influx of cattails not native to the bog. The horrendous job of  uprooting the cattails and planting native sedges is a hot, summer job.

A couple of the dunes can be seen in the background of the picture. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Violets and Dew Drops

Violets come in cycles. This year, with the wet and chilly spring, the violets are still carpeting the ground even into this late in May.   

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Coast of Indiana

The coast of Indiana--on Lake Michigan is nearly deserted this time of year even in good weather. The water is a might cold and only hearty ducks and gulls dare take a dip.

Even in the heat of the summer, when the refreshing water would be a real treat, this area may be deserted.   

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Red-Headed Woodpecker

Bird watchers were rewarded at the Indiana Dunes last Sunday with a wide variety of birds.

I was hoping to catch sight of a Whippoorwill but when I searched in the area of the call I discovered a Red-winged Blackbird mimicking a call!

The areas between the Dunes are great for birdwatching and I found a pair of Red-Headed Woodpeckers hunting for insects. They were sticking to one area. Hopefully they are here to nest.  

   

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blueberries on their way

The blueberries at the Dunes are filled with tiny blossoms. In a month or two we'll have tiny blueberries to brighten our hikes. 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Morel

Here's a Morel just trying to pop through the leaf litter at the Indiana Dunes. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Anxious Fathers

With Mother's Day over and Father's Day heading our way, the spotlight is on the last of the anxious ganders swimming and standing by their women, anxiously awaiting the new arrivals.

Considered a bane today, in some places, I have a different view of Canadians than most, because I can still remember how rare they once were. I love their graceful movements through the water and their noisy celebration of life in general.   

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Trillium

Don't miss this beautiful variegated variety of Trillium appearing amidst last years oak leaves on the forest floor.

Monday, May 9, 2011

American Goldfinch

This little guy isn't looking to build his nest this spring. Goldfinches don't nest until the native thistle goes to seed in late July and August. The down on the thistle makes a nice, soft lining for the nest.

And these tiny gold birds outsmart any cowbirds that may lay eggs in their nests; cowbirds can't survive on thistle.     

  

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Trillium

Trillium bloom at this time of year from sea to shining sea. They can be found under Redwoods in California, near the seacoast in Maine, and in the rich forests of Indiana. These were the first I've seen blooming this year and were at Sunset Hill Farm County Park this week.

It is said that ants are responsible for planting seeds for this wildflower...job well done.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Magnolia

There is hardly a prettier sight than a Magnolia tree in bloom against a brilliant spring sky.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Raining Violets

Most of the hiking trails and picnic area have been flooded at Tippecanoe State Park. Carp are spawning amidst the picnic tables and grills. It's nice to see a floodplain at work.

But the recent rains have also brought a profusion of wildflowers to the park, among them, it has been raining violets.

  

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jack in th Pulpit

This year the Jack in the Pulpits appeared a week or two later than last year, a couple of days after Easter.

They can be found under trees in rich, moist areas in the woods. These are from Coffee Creek and the woods of Sunset Hill Farm Park are covered with the delightfully unique wildflowers.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Spring blooms

With the profusion of spring wildflowers under the trees capturing all the attention, it can be easy to miss the beauty of the trees themselves in the annual spring show.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Cardinal

This Cardinal was singing his bright "What Cheer" on May Day Morning.