Sunday 5 June 2016. To Old Church and Rising Road via the Sunken Pond

It was 63 degrees F at 5:53 this morning as I rolled Rhododendron out of the garage for parts southwest.

First stopped for a yellow (and sure looks life pink in the middle) cabbage rose pic.

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The stalks and pods of the nearby bloomed-out lupines have been removed.

Then checked out the Amanita muscaria mushrooms

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which were reasonably numerous but nowhere near as dense as they are in the fall.

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It looked like they’d been there a while. Also noticed some that were just beginning to emerge from the ground. They have an amazing life force!

Rode along Race Street with my emotions organizing themselves for the day. Noticed something like a pit of sadness ahead but just coasted over it without looking down. Riding was enough to keep things flowing and even for the time being.

Made a quick stop at the edge of Meadowbrook Park to see McCullough Creek at the rabbit-statue bridge.

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Coasted down and “flew” over the bridge, rounded the corner, and got a nice foxglove Penstemon shot first.

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Then returned for the former picture.

Retraced my path to the official exit rather than going over the longish wet grass directly back to Race Street.

Then west on Curtis, where a light headwind was blowing.

On Curtis Road were many dickcissels singing (many more than were visible) and gorgeous bright yellow goldfinches. They didn’t like having their pictures taken, but managed to document them.

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This was the boldest dicksissel I’ve seen.

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I think he (or she) will go on to have a lot of chicks, as they’re not using energy to flee from a non-threat. Just a guess.

Stopped at the sunken pond at Curtis and Prospect.

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So invisible from the road!

Could hear the sound of frogs–bullfrogs and another species. Just by way of announcement; no sustained singing.

The vegetation around the pond was mowed fairly close to the edge, but there were some lovely flowers: spiderwort,

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Penstemon, new purple coneflowers,

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and purple indigo.

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Was amazed not to see geese and to see a number of ducks that didn’t look like mallards, though couldn’t take the ID any further than that.

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Back on the road, enjoyed the bike lane at that wide open part of Curtis, as always.

Turned south at Mattis then west on Old Church. Was surprised at how many houses their were this far out in the country,
but there was no shortage of corn, either,

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which was almost blue with vigor.

At Rising Road

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turned north toward Windsor. A little way along Rising was a farm house fairly close to the road: dog risk? Just talked to myself about the slightness of that possibility (good old denial) and made it safely along. Whew.

But then saw a form ahead in the road, a dog? Coyote? Something unexpected.

Approaching closer recognized it was a person, which was a bit startling; I never see people this far out on the road (though as I mentioned, there were plenty of houses not far away). He appeared reasonably well and unremarkable; nevertheless was glad that the turn east on Windsor Road came before I passed him.

On the way back enjoyed the bike path on Prospect Avenue with its cultivated, shady green borders.

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Then rode homeward via the whole length of St. Mary’s Road, as clouds gathered.

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Saturday 1 August 2015. Weaver Park and North High Cross Road. 

At 5:35 this morning it was, according to the phone weather ap, 61 degrees and clear, the just-past full moon getting close to the western horizon. But the air felt warmer than 61 and didn’t bring a jacket. Hoped I wouldn’t get cold.  

  

Today the destination was north High Cross Road, by way of Washington Street and Weaver Park. 

Thought this sign at the entrance to Weaver Park was humorous, if a bit sad. 
  

At edge of the “buffalo-wallow” pond caught the clear western sky behind a group of three of the “Sylphium sisters”: cup plant (S. perfoliatum), compass plant (S. lacineata), and rosinweed (S. integrifolium)
  

And prairie grasses were starting to bloom: the first big bluestem, I believe,

and, I’m guessing, switchgrass (Panicum virginiana–there actually is a group called “panic grasses,” must be a story behind that!). 

  

It really is time for me to get serious about distinguishing at least the common prairie grasses beyond big bluestem and Indian grass.   

Zoomed in a little to the pond, largely covered with water lily (I guess) pads and cattails. 

  

Saw these pads move, clearly, but didn’t spot the creature responsible for the movement. 

Then cut across Dodson Drive and east on Main, across University through the Beringer subdivision and North on High Cross Road. 

Passed the site on the northeast corner of the bridge where I used to follow the breakdown of a possum road kill and stopped to see whether any evidence of possum bones remained.  None did, only new garbage. Could probably have found some with a bit of effort but overruled that notion and went on. 

Out in the country on High Cross Road, the air was cooler than it was in town.  The temperature reading this morning must have come from outside of town. The change was pleasant. The ride was pleasant. It was not high exhilaration but reasonable comfort, with an awareness of how much better it was than so many other possible states or situations. 

Rode on and stopped at the edge of Brownfield woods for a shot of pale jewelweed 

  

and Joe Pye weed. 

  

Joe Pye weed (another provocative name with a story I don’t know) for some reason doesn’t tend to make me stop and photograph it, but got pulled in by this amazingly full clump. 

Continued north on pleasant High Cross Road and had to document the absurdly vigorous corn

with its absurdly tidy edges and extremely close proximity to the road.  Welcome to the  central Illinois, the icon of fertility!    

Thought the sight of morning glories on corn stalks had gotten mundane and not make me want to stop, but these were hard to resist. 
  

Then High Cross jogged where it crossed Leverett Road, and on the other side of Leverett was greeted by a male red-winged blackbird that hovered over me and made a cheep (complaint or warning, I guess) I hadn’t previously associated with red-wings. 

  

And it followed me a while. It was fun to imagine that this bird was trying to tell me something or was sent to protect me, though I think it simply didn’t like my being in its territory.  

There also were a number of dickcissels, those “mini-meadowlarks” with their distinctive call, in this area. 

Rode as far as county road 2200 N and turned around.  The red-winged blackbird near Leverett Road hovered over me when I passed through its territory again. 

On the way back saw spiderwort (a different species than the prairie one, I think) at Brownfield Woods. 
  

Also saw American bellflower, another favorite, which had completely escaped my notice on the way out. 

  

Returned via Main Street and stopped at the wildflower garden across from Weaver Park to see the royal catchfly. 
 

Was glad for the miles and the colors of summer!