Tuesday 15 July 2014. Royal Catchfly! And, of Course, Other Flowers, and a Large Caterpillar

Today all day it was so cool and breezy and comfortable (70 degrees F at 4:15 pm!) it was possible to take a comfortable ride in the late afternoon, which I did. Funny thing about the afternoon, even when the weather is perfect; it takes more resolve and energy to shift gears from the day’s activities and reach escape velocity.

But escape I did, to Meadowbrook Park, which was crowded with people, compared to how it usually is in the morning. The goal was to see whether the royal catchfly had started to bloom.

Took the big loop and waded into the wet area not far past the rabbit-statue bridge to photograph some swamp milkweed, which leaned in the breeze.
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Admired the Culver root, which are so abundant this year.
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At the beginning of the soft (yes, and now quite wet) path to the middle of the prairie (and hopefully the royal catchfly), got off of Rhododendron and walked. 20140719-083630.jpg
Not far into the middle of the prairie a milkweed plant bearing a large monarch caterpillar caught my eye! Saw a couple of adults earlier but wasn’t able to photograph them. Glad at least a few are still here.
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Walked on searching for royal catchfly but didn’t see it, and was just about ready to resign myself to this difference from last summer, when the intensely red little stars popped into the left side of my field of vision!20140719-084422.jpg
Talk about taking your breath away! And they were so nicely foiled by the Baptisia and rattlesnake master. 20140719-084608.jpg
A little farther down, on the other side of the path were more, in the same place and pretty much with the same distribution I remembered from last year. 20140719-084819.jpg
Life is change, but oh, how happy we are when something we like stays the same! Or especially, returns after an absence.

Turned and retraced my steps back to the rest of the big loop, and noticed yet another spot for prairie clover on the way out.

20140720-170906.jpg They must like the rain we’ve been having. I liked the clouds behind them, also.

And could not resist the latest stage of the lead plant bloom.

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This plant has everything from small buds to seeds, I think, and a few of those gorgeous little dark purple blossoms on between.

Spotted some smallish individual poppy-like magenta flowers that were new me in the very flower-rich area near Windsor Road and the border of Clark-Lindsey Village.

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It’s purple poppy mallow, Callirhoe involucrata. Not exactly native to Illinois but striking.

Got a lot of shots I rather liked, of clouds, rosinweed, purple and yellow coneflowers, for example, even with the intense afternoon light, but I think I’ll stop with this. So many flowers, so little time. A nice problem to have.

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