Wood betony

This time of year seems to be all about the hemiparasitic plants, including this wood betony.

The prairie floral community continues to surge back to life this week. On my recent hikes I have seen birdsfoot violets in bloom and fields of the white flowered cleft phlox. Yesterday I paused and watched for 5 minutes as a day flying moth called the bilobed looper danced around from flower to flower. I also stumbled upon blooming apple trees full of bumble bees. The buzz in the air around those trees drowned out the nearby traffic. It was refreshing.

The paintbrush flowers from last week are still blooming today but other prairie plants are starting to join in a subtle chorus of scattered color. This time of year seems to be all about the hemiparasitic plants. In addition to the paintbrush, I also saw wood betony and bastard toadflax in bloom this week. Aside from those, the very first wild lupines of the season are starting to bloom. I suspect that after a rainy weekend the blue flower spikes will be appointment hiking at the Conrad Station trail at Kankakee Sands in Indiana or at the Shannon Bayou in Aroma Park. Golden Alexanders and Wild Columbine will be others I will look for in bloom this week while I am exploring.

Be sure to continue to keep an eye on your feeders and trees throughout the month of May as more birds trickle though during their spring migration. I participated in the spring bird count for the Kankakee area last Saturday. I was on the limestone area team and our group noted 92 bird species. I look forward to seeing the countywide report. Personally, I had some great encounters with a summer tanager and a small group of black-and-white warblers.

I appreciate all of you that have sent me nature notes and photos from your yards and hikes. Keep them coming.

Reach Trevor Edmonson at trevoredmonson@gmail.com

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