|Hatpins (Syngonanthus flavidulus)|
It was hot and sunny when I finally got started in the late afternoon, so my feet were VERY hot in the rubber boots I wear to keep dry in the soggy ditch (and to give a little snake and tick protection). It turned out that I didn't really need the boots because the ditch was fairly dry. I expected it to be wetter because we had a hard rain this week. But maybe it didn't rain on that end of the county.
|Purple Thistle Fluff (Cirsium horridulum)|
|Pale Meadowbeauty (Rhexia mariana)|
|Skullcap (Scutellaria integrifolia) next to Wild Onion|
|Ladiestresses Orchid (Spiranthes sp.)|
|Early Whitetop Fleabane (Erigeron vernus)|
|Spent Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis)|
One lone, bright, Coreopsis shone like a beacon in the sea of green. Along the fence line I found white Blackberry blossoms and the strange flowers of Blackroot. I didn't see any of the Little Metalmark butterflies that I usually find in the Ditch. I don't know if it was because it is too early in the year or because it was too late in the day. Actually, I saw very few butterflies today--including one tired, worn Buckeye as I walked back to the car. There were plenty of mosquitoes, though. A tiny katydid nymph on a Betony stalk turned to hide whenever I tried to get closer, but its enormous antennae gave it away every time.
|Florida Tickseed (Coreopsis floridana)|
|Blackberry (Rubus sp.)|
|Blackroot (Pterocaulon pycnostachyum)|
|Betony (Stachys floridana) and Katydid nymph|
Patches of Twinflowers and Queen's Delight surprised me. I've never seen them in this ditch before. There were a few thin stalks of Bluehearts and red poofs of Heartwing Dock. The wet depressions were filled with Hatpins and Mock Bishopweed. I was happy to find a red Dwarf Pawpaw flower. I only see one or two of those each year. Bracken fern fiddleheads were everywhere. And, of course, I found a few old tires. Why do people do that?
|Twinflower (Dyschoriste oblongifolia)|
|Queensdelight (Stillingia sylvatica)|
|Bluehearts (Buchnera americana)|
|Heartwing Dock (Rumex hastatulus)|
|Mock Bishopsweed (Ptilimnium capillaceum)|
|Dwarf Pawpaw (Asimina pygmaea)|
|Bracken Fern Fiddleheads|
|Tread Softly (Cnidoscolus stimulosus)|
|Citrine Forktail Damselfly|
|Savannah Milkweed (Asclepias pedicellata)|
The woods are thick with berries at this time of year--shiny blueberries, huckleberries, deer berries and pawpaw fruit--bountiful harvest for birds, deer, turtles, raccoons and all the other berry eaters. The Saw Palmettos are flowering now, too, providing nectar for bees and butterflies. Walking through the Flatwoods I felt so happy to be alive. The light breeze brushed my skin and the sweet scent of Vanilla Leaf followed me along the trail. The crickets chirped and mosquitoes buzzed and I felt utterly at peace. Everyone should be so lucky. Happy Earth Day.
|Vanillaleaf (Carphephorus odoratissimus)|