Friday, July 31, 2009

Evening Clouds

The sun is behind pink cast clouds, illuminating them.

Woodpecker - Yellow-shafted Male Northern Flicker

These were pretty poor quality pics and took some post-processing to make them as presentable as you see here.
There were two or three flying around so the one in the grass is not the same bird, but appears to have all the same markings, plus it shows the black patch on the breast.

Markings of Note:
That thin line of yellow feathers
Tan face
Gray crown
Black crescent on breast
Red crescent on nape
White rump
Black mustache stripe (male)

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ladybug Bug

Zooming in on this nice new field specimen and hark!

Lady bug alert!
My first good lady bug pic. Yay!

Coccinella septempunctata - Seven-spotted Lady Beetle

Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Polyphaga (Water, Rove, Scarab, Longhorn, Leaf and Snout Beetles)
Superfamily Cucujoidea (Flower, Flat Bark and Ladybird Beetles)
Family Coccinellidae (Ladybird Beetles)
Genus Coccinella
Species septempunctata (Seven-spotted Lady Beetle)

Plant as yet unidentified.

Ladybug Bug:

UPDATE 1 Aug 09:

The ladybug remains on the same plant and I can predictably visit and photograph every field trip. Fun! I'm getting lots of pics in every pose imaginable. There are at least two of them on the plant, which I think is some kind of goldenrod, but am waiting for it to blossom before posting. Ladybug no. 2 is a darker color but has the same markings. I don't know if the color difference means anything of significance or not.

Walk In The Field Part 32 - Curlycup Gumweed

Lots of unknown plants that I'm waiting to see blossom before I id and post.
This Curlycup gumweed hasn't blossomed yet, but I was able to id, anyway.
It's called "noxious" and/or "invader," but from a photographer's telephoto perspective it's fabulous stuff.

Curlycup gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa)
Family name: Aster (Asteraceae)

"...a biennial that blooms and dies during its second growing season.

The most characteristic feature is the curly involucre (group of scale-like leaves around the flower head) which exudes copious amounts of sticky resin. "

Other names: Tarweed, Resinweed
Species: Grindelia squarrosa (Pursh) Dun.

Grindelia squarrosa (Pursh) Dunal

Yardstick image

I'll post some flowers when they blossom and if I get some good shots of them.

Here's a nice blossom:

I like this spiral:

Walk In The Field Part 31 - Owl Clover

Owl Clover (Orthocarpus luteus)
Scrophulariaceae (The Figwort Family)

Quote from npwrc:
I have no idea why this plant received the colloquial name "owl clover," although the rounded tops of the plants do resemble owls' heads, with the projecting flowers forming the "ears."

Orthocarpus luteus Nutt.
yellow owl's-clover
Well, THAT pic really nailed it for me. I have pics very similar. Also see full size yardstick picture (That's inches shown.) I thought of that too. But my yardstick won't stay in the ground by itself and I can't hold it and take the pic at the same time. I'm thinking of making a stake out of it OR making a stake and marking it with measurements.

Pronunciation: skrof-yoo-larr-ee-AY-see-ee
Alternative Pronunciation: skrof-yoo-larr-ee-AY-see-eye

Another Milkweed

The blossoms told me it was a milkweed.
But the overall plant looks totally different.
Skinny leaves, tall and skinny plant.
I left the color tone warm cuz the background was prettier that way.

I liked how the blossoms look like they sit on a pedestal.

Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)
Asclepiadaceae (The Milkweed Family)

"Leaves of this milkweed are about two inches long and very narrow; they occur in whorls of two to four along the full length of the stem. As in all milkweeds, the flowers are clustered into umbels. Botanists define an umbel as a cluster of flowers in which all the flower stalks (pedicels) arise from the same point."

"The specific epithet verticillata means "whorled" in botanical Latin."

Fuller plant view:

Previous post on Milkweed.

Butterfly - Red Admiral

My fav, although it had grass covering parts.
Closeup detail not that good.

Red Admiral Vanessa Atalanta

(Nice pics here.)

Species Vanessa atalanta - Red Admiral
Phylum Arthropoda - Arthropods
Class Insecta - Insects
Order Lepidoptera - Butterflies and Moths
Superfamily Papilionoidea - Butterflies (excluding skippers)
Family Nymphalidae - Brushfooted Butterflies
Subfamily Nymphalinae - Crescents, Checkerspots, Anglewings, etc.
Genus Vanessa - Ladies and Red Admirals
Species atalanta - Red Admiral



Quote from enature:
"...the Red Admiral will alight on a person's shoulder day after day in a garden.

In midsummer it is not unusual to see them chasing each other or Painted Ladies just before a thunderstorm or at dusk. "

ND Butterflies (Previous post)
(pdf file mentioned here is my first reference I go to for identification.)

Scarlet Guara

On/in the mowed grass/lawn roadside again. (Lots of stuff popped up there recently. lol)
Only one lone plant, right now.

Zoom out:

Scarlet Gaura (Gaura coccinea)
Onagraceae (The Evening Primrose Family)

Google Images

This place holds the blossom in hand so gives a better sense of scale. Tiny.

White Milkwort

This is in the field but also on/in mowed grass areas roadside.
It's about the size of a blade of grass.
Sometimes it has a slight blue or pink/red tint to it.
I left the images soft.

White Milkwort (Polygala alba)
Polygalaceae (The Milkwort Family)

There is also a Whorled Milkwort.
Seems to be more than one variety.
I didn't dig any further.
Polygala (Ambigua, Verticillata, Isocycla)

UPDATE 31 Jul 09:

I thought the usda tif files illustrated "whorled" leaves so well, that I made this summary image from them for my reference.

I used Layers and Layer Blend Multiply in Paint Shop Pro 9 to add the green background.

usda tif links:
whorled milkwort (Polygala verticillata L.)

white milkwort (Polygala alba Nutt.)

Just playin'.
Curlz MT font for text.
Spiral was a Preset Shape.
See Text on a Path

More Grasses

Grass and/or weed?
Peppergrass (Lepidium virginicum)?

I think the one above is:
Green Foxtail (Setaria viridis)?
Again, grass and/or weed.

No concrete references for these. Just guesses from looking at various sources.

Another unknown pretty:

(It was near some foxtail barley, if that means anything, not sure.)

Grass - Blue Grama

I slaved away at trying to get a *sharp* pic of this individual tiny "comb" stalk in the field:

And then I find out there's a bunch of it in the lawn beside the house. Sheesh.

Blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis)
Interesting stuff. I like it.



Colorful Grasses.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Walk In The Field Part 30 - Wild Licorice

I thought this was yet another vetch, but after looking thru the Bean Family yet again, I think it is Wild Licorice.

I thought the leaves were wonderful:


Full Plant:

Google Images
Common Names: American licorice, Wild licorice
Species: Glycyrrhiza lepidota Pursh
Family: Fabaceae - Bean Family
Seeds are burs.
(Has a few nice illustrations of the plant.)

It looked similar to Canada Milkvetch (Astragalus candensis)?
Licorice seems to have a shorter flower bunch (racemes)?

UPDATE 4 Aug 09
I found burs. Saw a bunch of wild licorice roadside and took pics.

Walk In The Field Part 29 - Vexed by the Vetch

Here's another vetch.
I'm vexed by the vetches because I can't distinguish between the many different varieties.
But hey, I got beans on this one.

Beans/Legume (with some leaf detail):


The full plant was a messy mass:

And what is it?
My guess would be
American Vetch (Vicia americana)

Googling tells me the blossom and legume both look similar, and the ferny leaves of course.

American Vetch
(Lists the Vetches native to North Dakota)
Kingdom Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae
Order Fabales
Family Fabaceae – Pea family
Genus Astragalus L. – milkvetch P
Contains 419 Species and 688 accepted taxa overall

Size/proportion: Actual size of beans is about 3/4 inch long. So the beans are very tiny, almost unnoticeable. Similar with the flowers.