Monday, August 9, 2010

The Magic Hedge - 7.20.10 (1/2)

I always love it when I go somewhere I've been before, especially if I've been there multiple times, and I find something new. When I hiked the Hedge last I found several species there that I'd never seen before.

I absolutely cannot Google a species on this bee.  I thought at first it might have been a queen, but that didn't seem to be it.  I can't tell how much of the yellow on the sides is pollen and how much might be actual bee fuzz.  If it's all pollen then it's probably a honking-huge carpenter bee with a TON of pollen on him, but if that's actual bee-fuzz... And these flowers don't have yellow pollen, so...  I'm stymied.  Anyone?
[Wide Angled Bee]

 A new species for me!  American Goldfinch.  I thought these things existed only in pet stores, seriously.  Or possibly somewhere far more tropical, like Brazil.  Chicago is not known for it's exotic and bright birdlife.  Mostly we have dirt-gray pigeons, you know?  Next I work on getting really *good* pictures of these guys.  But I was stoked to find him.  Actually I saw several before I left.

[The Goldfinch's Back]
Bug damage.  The plant this leaf-skeleton was attached to was seemingly healthy, but this leaf was *done in* by some kind of insect.  The resulting structure of veins is pretty interesting.

[Leaf Skeleton]
 Yet another new species!  This is a male downy woodpecker.  I'm a little fascinated by the way he can just stand on the tree and have his body be almost parallel to the ground.

[90 Degree Woodpecker]
 This is a root chicory flower.  They're everywhere in the Hedge now.  Yes, this is the stuff that gets ground up and used as fake-coffee-substitute in hotels and stuff.  Well, probably not the flower part, but this plant.  If you blow this up and look at the center, the pistol and stamen construction is pretty awesome.

[Chicory Blossom]
 Pine cones.  Lots and lots of pine cones.  I keep thinking this is the kind of shot that should be the background for something else or a computer wallpaper or something.

[Pine Cone Canopy]
 A tangle of native wildflowers.  Coneflowers, Queen Anne's Lace and Clover (I think the purple is clover, but if it is, it's really tall clover.)  That's Lake Michigan in the background.

[Prairie Flower Tangle]
 I've loved Queen Ann's Lace since I was a kid and they grew near the retention pond across the street from my house.  First of all, they're tough as nails.  Ever try to pick one?  Second of all, I love the flower-in-a-flower.  The little purple flower inside the big white one.  [Queen Anne's Lace]

 Queen Anne's Lace and Chickory growing together.  Things you learn from Google:  The root of the QAL is a wild carrot.  Who knew?

[Prairie Partners]

These are milkweed flowers.  There will be more about them in the second post from this walk.  But I love the monarch hanging off this one.

[Milkweed Monarch]

Ten pictures makes a post.  I'll post the rest of the shots from this walk next. :)

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