Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pigeon Creek Park

Pigeon Creek Park is where we ended up on Monday July 26 2010.  This park can be a bit of a puzzle, even with maps posted along the trails, many trails are not on the map.  It is an Ottawa County Park with 282 acres, and another 130 adjacent acres of County Open Space land.

It has hiking, biking, skiing, and horse trails (10 miles) that wind through old pine plantations, mature deciduous forests and  bottomland forests along the Pigeon River.  Of course we went to find wildflowers and to enjoy a day of walking.  We found Purple Fringed Orchid, Cardinal Flower, Hairy Willow Herb, Fringed Loosestrife, Virginia Stickseed, Yellow Spindle Coral, and Northern Horse Balm!

It was a very warm day but, oh WOW, we enjoyed it!
                                                  Purple Fringed Orchid

Purple Fringed Orchid

Friday, July 23, 2010

Petey as a Butterfly

After thirteen days in his chrysalis, and twenty-five days since I found him, Petey is flying free.  He is a beautiful Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly.  He actually dropped out of his chrysalis this morning, and started to dry his wings.  We spent just a few minutes saying our good-byes, then he bravely flew away.
The underside of Petey's wings
Close up of Petey's eye and proboscis, which he will unroll and use like a straw to sip nectar and water. Benjamin told me all about the proboscis, he is raising a caterpillar too!
Petey ready to fly.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ludington State Park

Spectacular Ludington State Park, this was our destination July 19 2010. It was a gorgeous day with unbelievably blue skies. There is so much to see in this 5,300 acre
park just north of Ludington Michigan.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Near Here

See Tilly?

This morning I went with Tilly, near here, for a meander off leash.  We were gone for three hours!
It was very warm and humid, many bugs. But, OH, the things we saw!
So many wildflowers.  Beautifully colored birds. Insects of all shapes and sizes, some flying, some crawling.  A bunny, frogs, and snakes. There is so much to see outside!
Obedient Plant

Purple Loosestrife (with Bee)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bass River Recreation Area

Monday is our regular adventure day, mostly, although we sometimes add a Thursday in there. July 12 we checked out Bass River Rec Area owned by the State of Michigan.

This area is over one thousand acres of land and water, some say 1665 acres, I didn't actually measure it. We have been here many times before and have stumbled across orchids, gentians, and many other cool wildflowers.

We both have knee high boots so we can get into those mucky places better, that's where I always think the rare orchids will be. Since this was a gravel pit we don't go far into the water because it quickly gets very deep.

With so many acres it is easy to get turned around here, but with big Bass Lake, the Grand River, and well traveled two tracks you don't get lost. We did walk over 3 1/2 miles trying to find the hidden place where we first found Ladies' Tresses, even though we knew it was too early for them to be blooming.

Again it was a great day, even with the heat, humidity, and mosquitoes. We also made a quick stop at Connor Bayou which is an Ottawa County Park.

Whorled Milkweed

Field of Everlasting Pea! (I call these Everlasting Gobstoppers)

Scouring Rush (Horsetail or Take-Aparts)

American Germander


Clymene Moth


Hidden pond at Bass River Rec Area

Friday, July 9, 2010

New Stage in Petey's Life

Petey has changed. The cute little green caterpillar is no longer green!

In the jar this morning I found a rather gross casing of Petey. On the side of the jar is a gold Petey. Check out the pictures. Is this an instar? Or is this Petey going into a chrysalis?


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Rix Robinson Park, Grand Haven Michigan

2010 0708 It was raining today, the day for our weekly adventure into nature.

So we stayed close to home. It's not that we mind the rain so much but it makes it hard to write notes, take pictures, and do research in the books. Still a fun day, but then it always is! 

Pickerelweed at Rix Robinson Park Grand Haven Michigan

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Five Lakes Muskegon Nature Sanctuary

2010 07 01 Our visit to Five Lakes. Owned by  Michigan Nature Association.  A large lake existed in this area around 1836. That one lake separated to five small lakes within the next 140 years. By 1975, two of the five lakes had dried up.
 These are a few of the flowers we saw that day:

Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis),

Shrubby St. Johswort (Hypericum Spathulatum)

Pickerelweed (Ponterderia cordata),

Leaf of the Pickerelweed,

Deptford Pink (Dianthus armeria).

Monday, July 5, 2010

Petey the Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar

 So I'm starting this blog today mostly to share cool things I come across, and to put off work I should be doing. This blog will include wildflower adventures, parks and places, photos, and whatever.

One week ago I found a caterpillar on the handle of my mailbox. At first I thought it was a bird dropping, but then noticed it had eyespots. My sister, Marie, named him Petey and he now lives in a jar. Petey has changed in one week and is green and quite attractive. I believe he is a Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar.

Petey as I found him on the handle of the mailbox.

Petey showing off his Osmeterium!
Petey five days after I found him.