|Horrible Thistle (Cirsium horridulum)|
|Oakleaf Fleabane (Erigeron quercifolium) and little grasshopper|
|Gaura (Gaura angustifolia)|
|Woolly Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)|
|Blueheart (Buchnera americana)|
I got some nice pictures, and then I noticed that I had somehow missed seeing the bajillions of Hatpins and Polygala all around.
|Bog Batchelor's Button (Polygala lutea)|
|Yellow Hatpins (Syngonanthus flavidulus)|
So I squatted and crawled around in the grass to get a good angle, aware of the fact that I would probably be covered with ticks and chiggers, and ever alert for snakes. Also, my ditch is on the side of a scenic county road, which is great, except that people seem to need to drive very fast on this road, so I always keep a careful eye out for traffic. But traffic was sparse today, and I could hear the pretty "Here Kitty Kitty Kitty" call of the Bachman's Sparrows in the Longleaf Flatwoods in the distance. It was a totally pleasant morning. I walked along the ditch, looking for butterflies, and suddenly saw a Lady's Tresses Orchid! Then another, and another!
|Ladies Tresses Orchid (Spiranthes vernalis)|
This was great! Turning around, I realized there were White Long-leaf Violets all around my feet.
|White Long-leaf Violet (Viola lanceolata)|
Then I saw the tiny Dwarf St. John's Wort and got really excited because I'd never found these by myself before. I only learned about them on a guided wildflower walk.
|Dwarf St. John's Wort (Hypericum mutilum)|
Looking down at the minute yellow flowers, that's when I saw the Dwarf Sundews. Thousands of them! I'd been stomping all over them in my enthusiasm to find butterflies. I crawled around and took lots of closeup pictures of the tiny (dime sized) Sundews. Their sticky red droplets were shiny and pretty in the dappled light and I could even see a few insects stuck in the glue. Most of them had tiny flowers, too.
|Pink Sundew (Drosera capillaris) with flowers|
|Sundew droplets up close|
That's when I saw the big shiny spider. I think it may have molted recently because it looked so fresh and new in the morning sun.
|Not sure what kind of spider--maybe a Trapdoor, or a Purseweb. If you know, tell me!|
It was all too beautiful to keep to myself, so I called my buddy, Maralee, to share what I'd found. After she arrived, we took lots more photos of the Sundews and Polygala. Then the Little Metalmarks came out to pose!
|Little Metalmark on Polygala lute|
We got some great shots, and as I was leaving, I saw my first little Argiope spider of the season.