Sunday, August 23, 2015

Of local fauna and flora

Yesterday was overshadowed by the threat of severe weather forecast for late in the day. Fortunately, the forecasters seem to have erred on the side of caution and we escaped with some downpours, but not much more. The wind and scudding clouds did seem to have prompted lots of activity among the local feathered fauna before the storms arrived. A flock of four wild turkey toms, that I think included the one-footed "gimpy" gobbler that we first noticed about a year and a half ago, came wandering through the yard, checking out insects and sunflower seeds dropped from the feeders. I know turkeys use their toes to scratch the duff looking for food. I'm pretty sure they also use them to perch when they go to roost at night. I'm impressed and pleased that "gimpy" seems to have made it as long as he has, even with a notable handicap.

four tom turkeys fleeing paparazzi
four tom turkeys fleeing paparazzi
Photo by J. Harrington

Speaking of handicaps, I have several when it comes to plant identification. I'm going to ask for some help. I haven't yet seem any blooms on the plant in the photo below and I mostly try to identify plants by starting with their flowers. If anyone has any suggestions or hints on what these are, I'd be most grateful to receive them.

[UPDATE: after a tedious, page by page review of one of my field guides, followed by a crosscheck at Minnesota Wildflowers, I think this is Monarda punctata (Spotted Horsemint). Alternative identifications welcome.]

and these are?
and these are? Monarda punctata (Spotted Horsemint)
Photo by J. Harrington


By Susan Kinsolving 

Trust that there is a tiger, muscular
Tasmanian, and sly, which has never been
seen and never will be seen by any human
eye. Trust that thirty thousand sword-
fish will never near a ship, that far
from cameras or cars elephant herds live
long elephant lives. Believe that bees
by the billions find unidentified flowers
on unmapped marshes and mountains. Safe
in caves of contentment, bears sleep.
Through vast canyons, horses run while slowly
snakes stretch beyond their skins in the sun.
I must trust all this to be true, though
the few birds at my feeder watch the window
with small flutters of fear, so like my own.

Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.