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Old Sep 2, 2013, 7:36 PM   #1
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Default Wetland Stroll

Out in one of the home park's wetland habitats recently, mostly to repair the boardwalk but also with an eye out for any new arrivals among the flora or fauna. Noticed that one of our late summer/early autumn orchids was in bloom. You can see why it's called Spiranthes! And even though the flowers are tiny, they do show the typical orchid pattern...
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Old Sep 2, 2013, 7:38 PM   #2
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Nearby were two other almost-autumn blooms. Both are in the genus Lobelia - the blue one is Great Lobelia, the red one is Cardinal Flower. Both thrive in the heat and damp, and both are excellent nectar sources for bees, hummingbirds, etc.
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Old Sep 2, 2013, 7:40 PM   #3
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That small flower behind the cardinal flower is a close cousin of Black Eyed Susan. The ray florets ("petals") are much shorter, and the center not so dark, on these Brown Eyed Susans.
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Old Sep 2, 2013, 7:41 PM   #4
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One more bloom of the damp places and the late summer is our Tennessee State Wildflower. Passionflower is in full bloom these days, and soon will hold those ripe pods that children call "maypops!"
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Old Sep 2, 2013, 7:43 PM   #5
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Of course, wetlands are perfect for odonates. Here's a Dragonhunter - one of our largest and most powerful dragonflies. You can guess from the name that they eat other dragonflies! They also eat large butterflies. This one was sunning on a wet rock, but also watching the passing smaller dragonflies very carefully.
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Old Sep 2, 2013, 7:44 PM   #6
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And these little damselflies (I think they are a species of Dancers, but still working on the ID) were busy laying eggs in the wetland. Male holds the female, partly to assist with egg laying, partly to keep other males away...
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Old Sep 2, 2013, 7:46 PM   #7
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Last but not least, we've seen a recent emergence of LOTS of one species of butterfly. Northern Pearly Eyes are scarce here some years, very common other years. This must be a good year for them. They never seem to visit flowers, but do enjoy a variety of animal droppings. This was one of a crowd working on some Coyote droppings...
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Old Sep 2, 2013, 7:47 PM   #8
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Hope you enjoyed this quick peek at the wetland life, and that you'll share your comments and suggestions!
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