Monday, July 28, 2008

Wildflowers and Ducks in Late July

Walking around the ponds near the soccer fields on the southeast edge of town a couple of nights ago, we couldn't help noticing a lot of purple. The tall, flamboyantly hued but rather messy looking flower above was not familiar to me, but I have tentatively identified it as Western Ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata), a member of the aster family. If anyone knows it to be something else, please let me know!

Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), or Bee Balm, was blooming prolifically amid the waving seedheads of the tall grasses.

A family of Blue-winged Teals hurried away from a lurking place along the shore when we disturbed them by walking too close. Later we saw another family with even smaller ducklings.

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The solitary little duck above proved by its stiff, upright tail and light neck to be a Ruddy Duck -- the first I've seen, as far as I know. Apparently the males have beautiful blue bills, but no such feature was visible from this distance in the golden evening light.


Jim H. said...

Western ironweed has overtaken part of our yard where (regrettably) a couple of large blue spruces were removed last year.

Wasn't "Ironweed" a Robert Bly book? I guess I'll have to look that up.

Jim H. said...

It wasn't Bly. Ironweed was a Wiliam Kennedy novel later made into a movie starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep.

Anyway, thanks for the pictures and the botany lesson. Nice to know there are still a few wild things in the midst of that development.

Penelope said...

Jim - Does your ironweed look like this picture?

I do remember that book (not that I've read it), but I did not remember that it was made into a movie starring Meryl "Mamma Mia" Streep.