Wednesday 26 June 2013. Transition to the Summer Prairie

It was about 5:20 under wide but thin clouds as Rododendron and I hit the road this morning. Had stayed up late to finish one thing and another and was really tired, almost to the point of having to be careful to keep control of the bike. But it was a summer morning on the bike, after all, worth enduring a little initial discomfort to get to the ease that I knew would soon come.

Couldn’t get the phone weather ap but guessed the temperature to be about 65. Felt chilly and wished I’d brought a sweater, but had very little time, so pressed on with reasonable confidence that, being late June, it would quickly get warmer. Hmm. Not exactly living in the present so far this morning.

Been taking Vine Street more frequently, what with the construction on Race. Took a route different from my usual: turned left into the path that divided Meadowbrook and Clark-Lindsay Village, which gave a good view of the sunrise.

Felt a little sad that my trips to Meadowbrook Park have been less frequent than last year–one actually can see more the more one observes, and so felt less sensitive to what might be going on. But always there is something to see, and here I was.

Today there was little evidence of the once-profuse Penstemon. Purple coneflowers, relatively large blooms whose petals radiated at different length and different angles on different flowers, were now prominent. Got a nice close-up shot of one next to a Heliopsis bloom.

The spiderwort were still a presence, and purple coneflowers, black-eyed Susan, Heliopsis, and Baptisia were becoming more numerous.

Got a shot of the sun just breaking above a couple of purple coneflowers and some grass spotted with water drops.

Farther down, around the stone sculpture that reminded me of the word “to” was a very thick stand of rattlesnake master (a runner-up in the funniest plant name contest).

A little farther still was an arresting patch of common milkweed in bloom,

complete with several orange and black milkweed beetles. The plants were laden with pink spheres of star-shaped flowers and were very fragrant. Last year it took reading about them in another blog to catch my attention and focus on them, but this year they seem unusually striking. I think this is a better than average year for them.

Rode fast south and downhill toward the rabbit bridge over McCullough/Davis creeks, hitting the brakes before the bridge to stop and look at the water. It was high with the rain from last night’s storms.

Just east of the south edge of the big loop saw the year’s first Monarda. Got a shot of the sunrise over the middle of the prairie facing north from the south edge, from between young walnut trees.

20130628-140342.jpgThe trees are filing in most of the prairie sunrise views I used to get from this length of the big loop.

Also saw the feather- like foliage of the
Liatris between the two little trees where it soon would be blooming. I’m guessing it’s a marsh blazing star (L. spicata) rather than L. pycnostachya, the prairie blazing star, only because it’s growing in a wet area.

Many red-winged blackbirds were giving their “Star Trek” call.

Caught a whiff of strong, fresh mountain mint. It was confined to a small area but so pleasant.

Around the southeast bend did not noticeCoreopsis or pasture roses where they’d been several days ago.

At the Freyfogel Overlook was a beautiful scene of early light spreading over the taller Baptisia and various plants getting ready to bloom.

And, of course, had to see the lead plant, many of the little purple flowers of which were abloom. It never disappoints! Got a shot of it with the golden light of dawn.

20130628-140834.jpgAlso the butterfly weed was stunning.

Then homeward at high speed (awake!) on Race street (mostly), with a brief stop to greet and discuss summer travel with a couple of friends out for a walk.



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