Tuesday, September 27, 2016

September Birding & Botanizing

Fringed Gentian - with Hover Fly pollinator at Ojibway Park 

Not much to report as of late. Probably my best birding high-lite has been a third Scarlet Tanager sighting in my back yard within the span of a week. This one above was seen last Thursday before work.  I did go out to Pelee with my son this last weekend but it wasn't particularly exciting. I did see another Grey Hairstreak though!
3 backyard Scarlet Tanagers - in one week?

I attempted to re-find the Fringed Gentian that I saw last year at this time at Ojibway but ... it wasn't to be found. I remembered that these flowers are bi-annuals - they have a two year life cycle. They aren't perennials! So I walked around the Spring-garden area to find some really nice prairie habitat that I had not discovered before and wow - some amazing plants. Closed Gentian, Fringed Gentian, Nodding Ladies Tresses Orchid, Riddel's Goldenrod, Prairie Rattlesnake Root all well seen. But even beyond the "rarities" --- the Goldenrod and New England Asters create an ocean of colour - Purple - Yellow - White  .... Its just breathtaking! The fall explosion of colour makes the end of summer just a little more bearable to the naturalist!

Bottle Gentian

Nodding Ladies Tresses

Here are two more botany connections to end off this posting:

I was cutting out some weeds from my "garden" which didn't get planted this summer when I came upon this weed/flower. It was so different ---- I couldn't bring myself to chop it out of my garden with my sickle - the flowers were too beautiful --- too mesmerizing! So later I was flipping through the botany field guide that reader Irene gave me to realize --- this plant is called Jimsonweed! I did a google search to learn more and found the following passage from Wikipedia: "All parts of Datura plants contain dangerous levels of the tropane alkaloids atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine, which are classified as deliriants, or anticholinergics. The risk of fatal overdose is high among uninformed users, and many hospitalizations occur amongst recreational users who ingest the plant for its psychoactive effects."(Wikipedia)   WHHOOAO... A who says botany is boring?

OK... ONE LAST BOTANY note for this posting!

I had made a collage of summer wildflowers from Ojibway many years ago - in 2010 if you could believe, and I was looking at that collage recently and noticed this yellow - flowered plant. And I thought -- what is this? So Pat's blog last week mentioned seeing a non-flowering plant - Whorled Loosestrife -- and I followed up a google image search just to see what it generally looks like while flowering and sure enough - my mystery plant was finally identified --- if only 6 years after taking the photo!

Good birding and botanizing!

PS: I happened to find this video (just 1.5 mins) with Seth Godin (entrepreneur, author) discussing how great it is to be a blogger. Blogging gets you into a conversation and creates meta-cognitive experiences that boosts learning. Check it out...


  1. Glad you are out enjoying the prairie flora....it can be a fun time of year, and the chiggers have quietened down. It is also surprising how frequently Jimsonweed is planted in gardens, considering how problematic it can be to one's health. It is an impressive plant in its own right, however.

  2. Glad my post sparked an ID! Great shot, it's a showy plant when you catch it in bloom.

  3. Hello Dwayne: 3 years ago a friend gave me a potted plant that somehow had a few Jimsonweed seeds in it. Those seeds grew beyond belief ! The flowers were awesome! I knew about the dangers of the plant--but this is a Seniors building, and my balcony is not accessible to others. At "flowering time" the blossoms opened just before sunset--each blossom taking less than 2 minutes to fully open. Other residents dropped by in the early evenings just to watch the spectacle ! It was beau--ti--ful !!!. I planted the new seeds the next year, but they didn't fare as well. When the ripened seed pods open they disperse seed far and wide ! Too messy---so I got rid of the plants eventually. I have friends who lived in Windsor, and they say that there is a by-law making it illegal to grow Jimsonweed in the city . A common name for this plant is Moon Lily, and I can see why. But it certainly is fascinating, even if lethal.

  4. Irene, I didn't know about them opening at night time. The ones that I had were open during the afternoon. Thanks for the comments / feedback to all.-dm



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