20170806 Local pollinators, Virgin’s Bower, Cherries, Charles Robertson

All of these pictures, except for the birdie, were made along the Old Still River Road, a stone’s throw from home.  The birdie was nibbling on some roadside sand (or salt) along Hwy 607.  It was a warm windless day, nice for picture-making of wee critters at lunch …

The oval eye suggests that this is a solitary bee of some sort.  The big load of pollen indicates that it might be a female preparing its “nest” to lay its eggs.  I have corresponded with Brits who are now providing nesting tubes for many of these native bees.  This is a good article about solitary bees.

Here are various hoverflies nectaring off of hawkweeds along Old Still River Road …


Two hoverflies…

Another hoverfly.

A sharp-eyed observer will notice that the three above photos are at the same flowerhead.

Pretty but fiercely invasive Purple Loosestrife has been gradually spreading northward over the last 20 years.

I have a very fuzzy photograph that plainly shows the black legs and black thorax streak which identifies this Clearwing as a Snowberry Clearwing Moth nectaring in a patch of Heal-all.

White-faced Meadowhawk on a Spreading Dogbane leaf…

Syrphid approaching Chicory blossom for some nectar …

After much humming and hawing I’ve concluded that this must be a Brown-headed Cowbird.

“Cowbirds are smaller and shorter-tailed than other members of the blackbird family, with a shorter, thicker bill. The brown head of male Brown-headed Cowbirds can be difficult to see in poor light, so body shape and bill shape are the best clues.”

Clematis virginiana (also known as devil’s darning needles, devil’s hair, love vine, traveller’s joy, virgin’s bower, Virginia virgin’s bower, wild hops, and woodbine) is blooming up on tree trunks, on tag alders and prone, along the ground:

Red Osier Dogwood fruit is ripening …

Prunus serotina, commonly called black cherry, wild black cherry, rum cherry, or mountain black cherry, is ripening.   The little clasps where the stem attached to the fruit distinguishes this specie of Prunus from the shrub-like Prunus virginiana, commonly called bitter-berry, chokecherry,Virginia bird cherry and western chokecherry.  Chokecherries have similar blossoms to black cherries and similar fruit.  Black cherries are nicer to eat and make a nice wine.  This clump of black cherries has a visitor ….

Choke cherries …

Black cherries with a little green visitor

Yesterday I had a very good discussion with a very knowledgeable and forthright Chief Naturalist at Grundy Lake Provincial Park.  I hope that she will help me learn about the flora and fauna in this neck of the woods.  I am especially interested in the effects of a changing climate on the relationships among various flora and fauna especially during the spring.  This primer on the subject was written 10 years ago when climate change was more of a scientific debate than a political debate.  It appears that the answer to Will Plants and (their) Pollinators Get Out of Sync?  is, unfortunately, becoming YES.

It is not surprising that Illinois Wildflowers ,  a wonderful website that relates plants with their fauna associations (See this example.), is authored in the same State where John Robertson did his landmark work over a century ago.  His Flowers and insects; lists of visitors of four hundred and fifty-three flowers    is now a foundation to the study of plant/insect relationships.  What a wonderful little site that last link takes us to!

I just HAD to take screenshots of the entry for one of my favorite spring ephemerals: Spring Beauty … the specie that is prevalent up here is Carolina Spring Beauty … Claytonia caroliniana

Can you imagine the patience and knowledge required to observe and record all of these visits?!

Can you imagine what Robertson would have done with a modern digital camera?   Born a century too soon!

One of these days, I might go back through my photographs and see if the blooming times for Spring Beauties is changing.

One thought on “20170806 Local pollinators, Virgin’s Bower, Cherries, Charles Robertson

  1. Dear Tim … once again, thank you .. the colours, especially the Chicory blossom, are just incredible. xoxo

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