Thursday 28 April 2016. Pink Shooting Stars

It was 66 degrees F under party cloudy skies at 11:55 this late morning of day 28 of 30 Days of Biking. Headed to Meadowbrook Park on Rhododendron to check out the shooting stars.

My very favorite biking is first thing in the morning, but am glad to have needed to get used to things like traffic and harsher light.

Rode to the rabbit-statue bridge over McCullough Creek for a shot of the high water.

The more turbid water from Davis Creek was visible as it entered McCullough Creek.

Turned back then and stopped for a look at a pink flowering dogwood, the trunk and branches of which were covered with a shaggy grow of lichen.

Walked the bike toward the Spomer Prairie, then wondered whether any Jacob’s ladder flowers had survived this stage of the ecological restoration now in progress at the Hickman Wildflower Walk and detoured to check.

There were a couple of them,

img_5910 delicate and lovely.

Stopped then at the little wooden bridge over babbling McCullough Creek and got a photo of a crayfish chimney in the foreground.

And continued along the wet (soft!) path.

A short way in noticed it was doing to be a big year for another early-blooming native prairie plant, golden Alexanders (which incidentally go by the delightful Latin name of Zizia aurea“.)

But for my biased mind, this visit was all about the shooting stars, which were almost in view.

First saw the patch of pink ones!


They came in shades from almost white

to almost purple

and mostly they seemed reasonably healthy.
A little way down and in the other side of the path was the cluster of white-flowered shooting stars.

which were not as numerous as I’d expected. Then noticed several severed-edged flower stalks,

img_5930 as if the flowers were being eaten. Made me realize that the plants we get to see are what remains after the herbivory.

On the way back discovered yet another patch of pink shooting stars,

protected, I think, by blackberry brambles.

On the way back out of the prairie, heard short buzzing sounds, like insects of some kind. Did see and hear one bumble bee, but it didn’t seem like flying bees were responsible for all the sounds. Maybe they’re under the thatch, out of sight, emerging into the oncoming growing season…. Led by the shooting stars.


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