Saturday, October 20, 2012

Autumn Findings....

Having taken a series of walks over the last several days, I have quite a few photos to share.  However, many of the topics aren't worth an entire post on their own, so I'll just band a few together in a miscellaneous post and call it good!

We'll start by crossing the draw and heading back to the Cedar Grove....

One of the first things I saw, welcoming me home, was this female Carolina mantis (Stagmomantis carolina) hanging on to the developing seeds of a giant ragweed. 

I love watching mantids turn their heads, following movement, and this gal kept changing her view, first watching the dogs, then turning back to look at the black tube pointed her way.  I don't see very many praying mantises, so it was a treat to see her so perfectly poised...and so full of eggs!  She seemed to be interested in me, too.

A little farther down the path, I was able to catch a shot of a grasshopper that seemed a little different from the handful of species that I normally see.  Some work with Insects in Kansas and with has me tentatively identifying this as a female admirable grasshopper (Syrbula admirabilis), one of the slant-faced grasshoppers.   Generally males of this species are brown and females are green.

The next thing to share isn't showing up well in my photograph (which actually just looks like a jumbled mass of tiny aster blooms), but I have a few clumps of heath aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides) that are blooming a distinct light purple, rather than the more common white.  It was a good year for heath aster, especially in the area that we burned a little over a year ago.  This photo was taken last Monday;  just a week later there is almost no heath aster left blooming anywhere.

I rather like this next little bushy guy.  Looks rather like a Dr. Seuss plant, doesn't it?  Or perhaps a feather duster?  Maybe a fancy water fountain, frozen in mid-spout?

It's actually the seed head left from the dotted gayfeather (Liatris punctata) bloom spikes that were so bright just a month or so ago.  I'm always amazed at how quickly these blooms change from brilliant to bushy, then lose their seeds to the wind.  Where purple shone just a few weeks ago, now there is simply a soft tan, getting ready to take to the air....

A very few goldenrod blooms are hanging on.  The stiff goldenrod in my front garden is finished, but the single clump of stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida) that I discovered out in the Back Five is still in bloom.

The bloom I highlighted in the closeup is one of the two stalks that I thought was dying earlier this summer.  The entire tip of the shoot was black and almost lifeless, but the flower buds appeared above the blackened area and they bloomed just as strongly as any of the other stalks.  You can see the remnants of the blackened leaves below the blossoms.

There are a few lingering goldenrod blooms on other species around the yard, even though most of their flowers are already showing the tan fluff of their developing seeds.  The brown-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba) in the vegetable garden is simply covered with masses of blooms, although I gave up on growing any vegetables several months ago.  Most of the color left in my yard, though, is coming from the masses of aromatic aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium) sprawling everywhere. I could easily do an entire post on that plant alone...and I may, if I get inspired!  Meanwhile I have dozens of photos of pollinators, gorging on aromatic aster pollen and nectar, that I need to sort through and edit.  So I'll leave you with a shot of my brown-eyed Susans and toddle off to bed.  Tomorrow's another day.


Jason said...

Great picture of the mantis!

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

I like watching the mantis too. We had one on the hummingbird feeder, had to shoo it off!! Love seeing the native flowers in bloom in KS.

Gaia Gardener: said...

Janet, I've seen photos of mantids catching and eating hummingbirds, so it's a good thing that you moved it off!