Monday 11 June 2012. White Prairie Clover, a Hill, and Urban Geese

Obeyed an urge this morning to make a different short trip: to the prairie garden by the Lincoln Bindery and down the hill on the road between Busey Woods and the cemetery.

Rode Discovery so I could easily carry swim gear to the next destination of the trip.

To digress slightly, wanted to mention a delightful velo on Discovery to pick up Chinese food  yesterday evening.  The temperature was perfect-summer-evening-bike-ride warm.  Across the sky was spread a thin, very textured, wavy layer of clouds. As I may have hinted before, I’m much more a sunrise than a sunset person, but this one was making me rethink my prejudice.

Passed Crystal Lake Park and the back of Carle Hospital, where even at 5:30am, people were going to work. The Carle helicopter was flying overhead, like a giant mechanical dragonfly.

Finally stopped to get a sunrise pic at the county fairgrounds, where, there are, by the way, some nice oak trees.

At the wooded stretch before Coler Ave. met Bradley, the song from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, that goes, “Bravely Bold Sir Robin, brought forth from Camelot…” played briefly in my head.  It takes longer for the woods to get light in the morning than it does the prairie; the woods were still fairly dark.  Don’t think I’m brave (or foolish–that’s always the question) enough to go exploring the woods  at the crack of dawn.

Not surprisingly there were a couple of deer in the road a little way along.

The little prairie at Lincoln Bindery didn’t show much color, though there were a lot of pre-blooming stalks of the compass plants I remember from last summer. But was surprised by the blooming white prairie clover (Petalostenum candidum)!  For some reason I haven’t been designating the species I’ve found at Meadowbrook (Petalostenum purpureum as purple prairie clover, which it is. There was quite a bit of the purple kind here, too, but it was only just starting to bloom. Thought maybe the two were just color varieties but noticed the leaves of each were quite distinct.

Loved going around the corner and down the little hill along Busey woods. Stopped briefly at the bridge near the Anita Purvis Nature Center and noticed a fair number of fish e.g. sunfish, down below.

Coasted down the brick pavement along Crystal Lake Park and met up with a large sample of the local Canada goose population. They were all pretty large, but a fair number still wore their fluffy adolescent plumage. I marveled at their sheer biomass. All this on park grass and peoples’ lawns?  They certainly were busy seeming to eat something from the ground.  I wonder if the Park District saves money on mowing because of goose-feeding. Certainly the geese provide quite a bit of fertilizer.

Tomorrow, the last Meadowbrook trip for a while. Though you never know….


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