Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

Saturday, 10 December 2016

The flowering season is finally over!

No kidding!

The lingering autumn allowed at least a few plant species to continue to flower a lot later than they normally might have. But with the onset of below freezing temperatures and even snow in the last few days (with a lot more on its way, apparently), even the hardiest plants have called it quits. And so have some of the insects that took advantage of the lingering mild weather.

For example, this Clouded Sulphur butterfly was around less than two weeks ago, on a very windy day at the Tilbury Sewage Lagoons (it seems that sewage lagoons are always windy.....). It had a hard time hanging on to this dandelion seed head.

Somewhat more surprising, was the existence of these active Cabbage White larvae on our kale as late as yesterday!






Sewage lagoons are good spots to find some late flowering plants. These next ones were all seen recently at the Blenheim sewage lagoons.
Butter-and-eggs (Linnaria vulgaris)
Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis)
Mustard species
Sowthistle (Sonchus sp)
Perhaps it is the presence of warm water outlets that make a slightly milder micro climate.  It is also good for late shorebirds, as many readers will know, since a few Dunlin and a Western Sandpiper have been regularly seen at the Blenheim lagoons as late as today, but the open water is diminishing.

Of the four plants shown above, three of them are not native. Only Evening Primrose is native. Persisting in such extreme conditions must be a helpful survival strategy for these colonizers of disturbed areas.

Natural areas may also have a few flowers persisting. This next image, of a native Aster species, was seen in the sand dunes of Rondeau not too long ago.


The plants in this next image have finished flowering (yes...grasses do have flowers), but I think they look particularly attractive at this stage. This is a common tallgrass prairie species, and frequently found in the beach dunes of Rondeau.
Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans)
Just another three and a half months or so until the next flowering season begins!










2 comments:

  1. Winter is definitely upon us now. Interesting about the Cabbage White larva. I cannot wait until spring!

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    Replies
    1. Indeed....I used to enjoy winter more when I was a kid, but less so now.

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