Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Northern Escape

Last weekend we escaped up north to explore 40 acres of newly purchased land. We spent the weekend with friends near Tom Lake and had a great time walking along the bubbling trout creek that runs through our property.

I was thrilled to find Ebony Jewelwings all along the creek. I'd never seen one before in the wild and was fascinated the first time I ever saw photos of one. (Check out Dan Tallman's blog for really nice photos of jewelwings.)

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately since I did end up sitting in the creek, I didn't bring my telephoto lens. I'm actually amazed that the photos turned out!

Some of the northern wildflowers are still blooming, like this delicate Shinleaf that reminds me a bit of Lily of the Valley.

Shinleaf (Pyrola elliptica) contains a property similar to aspirin and its crushed leaves were applied to bruises to reduce swelling and pain. It's a member of the wintergreen family, but doesn't have a minty smell or flavor.

While a common plant, its diminutive nature and propensity to grow in heavily shaded decidious forests, makes this flower often overlooked.

I also had the opportunity to finally see a White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis arthemis) up close. Easily recognized by the white band on black, White Admirals are found in deciduous forests throughout Canada and the northern United States.

The underside of their wings are a deep rusty red. The intricacies of marginal rows of blue and a submarginal row of red dots are stunning. This one was enjoying the nectar of Jon and Terri's mock orange.

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