Friday 17 July 2015. Royal Catchfly Returns to the Freyfogel Overlook!

This morning at 5:35, just as the sun was rising, it was 72 degrees F, the sky mostly clear but for some wisps of clouds near the horizon. 

Was determined to have a loop around Meadowbrook Park as well as a swim, and got out in a reasonably timely manner. Hooray!

Stopped for the customary shot of McCullough/Davis Creeks from the rabbit-statue bridge after zooming over the bridge (no headwind today) and not even touching the brakes after the turn(!)  

 
Tried not to stray too much into thoughts of the future, but was anticipating the coming of the cardinal flowers below the bridge here within the next few weeks. 

Rode along the path on the southern edge of Meadowbrook, taking in the usual soul-nourishing atmosphere, though was not especially tempted to stop for a photo.  Much of the prairie looked a little “tired,” if I may say so.  

 
There were many brown, bloomed out heads of spiderwort, and many of the Monarda and yellow coneflowers looked stressed.  The few compass plants I could find were no taller than the plants around them. Perhaps all the rain we’ve had has allowed pathogens to flourish. 
So did not expect to stay long at the Freyfogel Overlook, though did spot some lovely showy tick trefoil . 

And then, without expecting it, saw a little touch of red out a ways away from the observation deck. 
   

Royal catchfly! This is a place where I’ve seen them in the past, but last year, and I think the year before, as well, my searches for this plant at this spot were negative. 

Tried to get close by using the zoom (sorry, the iPhone 6 still does not zoom so well); really do feel like it’s trespassing (even without the sign that says to stay on the path) to stomp through the greens.  But the red stars screamed like sirens, as it were, and soon I was close to them. 
 

And then immediately back to the path. 

Even amid stress, the glory of the prairie’s graphics and color prevai!

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