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Friday, July 30, 2010

Swamp Rose Mallow and a Ducky Solution


wild hibiscus, swamp rose-mallow

One more post from Monday's adventure. Right now, the wild hibiscus, Hibiscus palustris, is in bloom. It's also called Swamp Rose-Mallow. This is a huge plant, maybe 5-6 feet tall, and the flowers are 6-8 inches across. Like any hibiscus, it has that long style protruding from the center of the flower.
wild hibiscus, swamp rose-mallow

It's odd in that it will grow in brackish water... along the seashore in tidal swamps, but also in freshwater marshes, particularly in the Great Lakes Region. Here we are!
wild hibiscus, swamp rose-mallow

Here are the buds, which are not bad looking themselves.

Now I can give you an answer to the duck mystery. I have to confess it was a mystery so long because I misplaced my bird book. Several of you gave some good guesses. Theresa, Ratty and Auntie E all correctly searched out the answer. It is a female wood duck, with (I'm pretty sure) three juveniles. In real life it was much easier, both by relative size and behavior, to see this as a family group. In fact, this picture is almost an exact match for the one in my bird book. Male wood ducks are pretty spectacular. Maybe some day I'll get to show you a picture of one.
female wood duck

And a P.S. on the heron. Yes, these crazy birds are at home in trees. They build huge nests of sticks on the tops of dead trees. I already knew that. But I had always mentally pictured them sitting up there with their long legs folded under them. They probably do when sitting on the nest. But I never for a minute thought that they could balance those big bodies straight up and down! I know where there used to be a rookery (a group of nests), but I think the birds moved on. Maybe I'll try to get there and see if I can picture a nest for you.

See For the Birds
See BIrd Game Answer


Ann said...

That looks too pretty to be called a swamp rose.
I have pictures of a heron nest on top of a telephone pole. When we were in Warren Pa one time my husband pointed them out to me.

vanilla said...

The hibiscus is one of the things I miss most since we sold the place at the lake. Well, that and the great blues. And lots of other stuff-- oh, dear.

Russ said...

Love the swamp Roses. And I would love to see a heron nest.

jeanlivingsimple said...

The Swamp Rose is pretty enough to grow in a garden. I'm not good at ID'ing ducks. Glad to learn what kind these are. GB Herons nest along a nearby river but I have never seen a nest. I hope you can get a picture of one.

Sharkbytes said...

Ann- I'll bet that was an osprey nest. PA is known for putting up platforms on utility poles for the ospreys.

vanilla- I would apologize, but actually I'm glad I made you miss a beautiful spot on a lake!

Russ- I will try to get a rookery picture.

Jean- They are beautiful, but you'd need a really wet garden! Better get one of the cultivated ones!