Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Belle Isle on the last Sunday in September

It was birdy at Belle Isle on the last Sunday in September but all were hidden in the still thick leaves and, although I had some close chances, no real photos ops.

Above and below:  worn common checkered skipper (Pyrgus communis).  It's been quite awhile since I've seen one and, as discussed this summer, I am out-of-practice with my skipper identification.

Above:  Great blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)* a native perennial of wet woodlands, swamps and floodplains - all three describe the woods of Belle Isle well.  Initially I called this bittersweet nightshade (Solanum dulcamara), a non-native perennial*.  I may have made this error because of the variability of L. siphilitica, and I did not check enough sources for bittersweet nightshade.  Its flower actually bears no resemblance to the flower of great blue lobelia.  Look at the name siphilitica.  In days of yore when we did not have effective treatments, this name comes from the mistaken belief that the alkaloids in the roots could cure syphilis.   Actually the alkaloids in the roots can cause vomiting.  Toxicity is also a feature of bittersweet nightshade's alkaloid roots - hence its name.  Nevertheless, both are beautiful

Spicebush berries are thick and numerous in may spots now so there is plenty of food for thrushes, waxwings and others.  Swainson's thrushes were heard in a couple of spots thick with spicebush berries.  At one point a fresh Spicebush swallowtail flew over the path.

I don't know what these berries are.  I found them in only one spot and I was tempted to try them. Hanging in clumps they looked like concord grapes.

*Wildflowers of Michigan Field Guide by Stan Tekiela, Adventure Publications, pages 23 and 125.  (A handy and portable little guide for novices like me.)

1 comment:

Darrin OBrien said...

Cathy, aren't the flowers Great Blue Lobelia?