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Saturday, September 20, 2014

White Aspen Revisited


The white aspen, Populus alba, is alien, but it's very pretty, and not very invasive here, although it can be a problem some places. Yesterday, the wind was turning the leaves over to reveal the bright white undersides.

silver poplar

This isn't the tree in my kingdom, but still pretty close to me.

For a reminder of how white it looks in the spring, see White Trees Part I

And I have a really interesting picture of its bark somewhere, but of course, can't find it to put here where it would fit. I suppose you'll just see this tree another time!

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Butterfly Punctuation

Commas vs Question Marks... not a punctuation error most people make after first or second grade, right? However, when it comes to butterflies, there is one spot of a difference. Literally.

Here's an Eastern Comma, picture taken today. The comma is easy to spot. That's not a flaw in the photo, but a silvery curved line on the underside of the wing.

eastern comma butterfly

Here's the Comma, Polygonia comma, from the top.

eastern comma butterfly

And the Question Mark, Polygonia interrogationis, from the top.

question mark butterfly

See the difference? Don't feel bad... it's not obvious until you know what to look for.

eastern comma butterfly

The Comma has three "subapical" spots, and the Question Mark has four. Now you know. Supposedly there is a silvery dot on the underwing in addition to the curved line so that really looks like a question mark too, but I haven't yet gotten a picture of the underside of a Question Mark.

The comma today was sitting very still in the sand and let me take all kinds of pictures. I only wish it would have opened its wings wide, but still I think the pictures are pretty good. I think the funniest thing is its white legs!

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Silver Lake

Silver Lake is a beautiful local lake with one of the longest stretches of bare dunes along the Michigan Shore, between Silver Lake and Lake Michigan.

Silver Lake

That said, it's one of my least favorite places to go in the summer. The DNR has decided that these dunes will be dedicated to motorized recreation. There are commercial dune rides, places for private citizens to ride their own or rented dune buggies. The small community that has grown up around the tourist business is wall to wall people and noise all summer. The state park tent sites are like side-by-side bedrooms.

Silver Lake

However, after the summer people leave, it can be almost restful.

Like anywhere else on a lovely lake, the cottages and starter castles encroach as close as possible to the public land.

Silver Lake

We used to deliver papers here. If the papers were late and we got there after 7 am the traffic was so bad it really made for slow deliveries.

But yesterday, I had a case to do near here, and stopped to enjoy the more natural feel of the post-tourist season.

See I Never Would Have Seen These If
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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

We Build Trail in Low Places

This has to be what I share today. The North Country Trail Association raised the money to fund this through Kickstarter, and then did this professional video celebrating volunteers on the trail. I managed to make it to one of the filming days by stopping on the way home from my spring hike.

Just enjoy! (watch till the end... funny stuff there)

We Build Trail in Low Places--North Country Trail Association Celebrates our Volunteers! from North Country Trail on Vimeo.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Would It Be Easier to be Green?

Today was the day of improbable lawn decor.

First we have the green flamingos. Wonder what they've been eating- limes? Firetrucks? And they have two friends of some unknown species. Any guesses? Pink peahens?

green flamingos

Then, when I was almost home, I found the guys who should be green but aren't. These are just for my pal Lin who loves her froggies! And anybody else's froggies too.

musical frogs

I have a little backlog of flamingos. Always good for a rainy day. Today was not rainy. It was gol-danged near perfect!

See Flamingos
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