Monday, March 22, 2010

Yellow sunny walk

Spring flower season in upon us! Yeah! It is always good to see old friends blooming. Of all the flowers I have managed to learn, the springs flowers the best. It is probably because I am so anxious to see color and eager to learn after a brown and white winter. Right off the bat at the trail head I spotted good ole Coltsfoot poking its bright sunny face above the leaf litter. I think they are so anxious to flower that they don’t even bother with leaves until after the seeds are set. I love this maroon and yellow combination.


Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), is a member of the Asteraceae family. The name “tussilago” means cough suppressant but I have read that it is NOT a good idea to use it because with modern science it has been found to be toxic to the liver. This early native bee doesn’t seem to mind and is anxiously sipping up the nectar.


The next interesting thing I saw was River Alder (Alnus serrulata). I say interesting because although I pass it on each walk this time I noticed that the catkins were in bloom. This winter they were a hard brownish green and now they are opening up to reveal tiny flowers with lots of pollen. The seed is produced in small cones and pollinated this time of year.


Below you can see the pollen all over my fingers. When I later cleaned of my camera I noticed lots of this pollen attached to my lens and camera body. I can see that I need to be vigilant in keeping my camera clean this spring.

Made a quick stop at the mushroom/slime mold log and sure enough found another yellow thing to take a photo of. Pretzel Slime Mold (Hemitrichia serpula). The fruit body is the network of swollen veins (plasmodiocarp) which eventually breaks down and the threads pop out to form a cottony mustardy-yellow spore mass. You can see that on the right of the Pretzel like veins. Cool uh.


Back down by the wetland I found a Fishing Spider (Dolomedes species) in the genus Pisauridae. It is semi-aquatic and hunts by waiting at the edge of the water with their front legs in the water to feel the vibrations. You know how most spiders use their web to feel the vibrations when an insect lands on the web and the spider runs out and grabs it before it can fly away, well, these spiders use the water like a net to feel the vibrations. Next time I see one I hope to find it fishing at the waters edge, I would love to observe it fishing. Adaptation is amazing isn’t it?


It was hard to see this spider because it blended in so well but had I been brave and moved in very close I might have seen the short, velvety hairs that are unwettable (hydrophobic) that allows them to use the surface tension to stand and run on the water. Now if we could just figure out how to make rain coats like that, we could stay dry and walk on the water to get a better look at the frogs mating.


After the walk and I was home I noticed this deer watching me get out of the car. She just starred at me for the longest time and I broke eye contact first. I was up in the yard and she was down by the creek behind the house. I just thought she had so much personality showing. Sometimes even common things look different on a nice spring day like this one.


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11 comments:

ewok1993 said...

This season is full of photographable items. I can't wait to go for a walk too.

Sylvia K said...

Marvelous walk! And thanks for taking us along! We've been so fortunate to have spring visit us early this year and I do so enjoy getting out to take photos! Love all your photos and the deer is so beautiful!! Hope you have a lovely week!

Sylvia

Woodswalker said...

Thanks for the delightful spring walk and showing us all these treasures. Your readers might like to know that those little red burry things sprouting above the polleny alder catkins are the pistillate (female) flowers.

J Bar said...

Many great shots.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Wren said...

Thanks for sharing your beautiful world. I believe that deer was as curious about you as you were about here. Do you suppose she has a camera hidden nearby? :)

January said...

lovely photos! thanks for sharing...

My World on Tuesday

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Randi said...

Thanks for showing us your beautiful wildlife world! Your photos are amazing and I love your blog.

~Cheryl said...

I really enjoyed your photos and information! Hadn't thought about pollen getting into my camera, but it makes sense. Have a wonderful day!

squirrel said...

Woodswalker, I didn't know those were the female flowers, I suspected but wasn't sure. So I guess they will be the beautiful little pine cone like sturctures I saw this winter. I always appreciate you comments and additional information.

SandyCarlson said...

A beautiful time of year!

Tammy Lee Carpentier Bradley said...

Fantastic Post. Thank you for sharing. I bet you didn't want that special moment you shared with the deer to end.

Tam @ http://bloggingbradleys.blogspot.com/