It’s summertime on the pine barrens. The prickly pear cactus is in bloom, and for now at least the fields are lush and green.
The prickly pear cactus is a real treat. Found in some of the sandy fields in the Allegan Forest, it grows in patches that can be quite large. It looks totally out of place here in the Midwest, but is indeed a native plant.
I was away from the fields for a solid week. Monday was dark, cool, and rainy, Tuesday and Wednesday were tied up with workaday activities. So it wasn’t until Thursday that I was able to get back to the summer fields for some more close up work.
Blue dashers are still out in great abundance. Field both north and south of the Kalamazoo River are just swarming with these dragonflies. As they have matured, their colors are deepening and now the males present themselves as startling bright blue and yellow.
Coreopsis and vetch are both in bloom at this time. I managed to get a few shots with either the golden coreopsis or purple vetch in the background – but unfortunately was not able to get a shot of any dragonflies perched on the flowers themselves. They do perch on them – they just don’t stay there very long.
I suppose that the wet weather has somehow contributed to the burst of blue dashers on the scene. While they dominated all of the areas I visited in Allegan on Thursday, several new species were starting to appear. I spotted a few bright red male White-faced Meadowhawks near the intermittent marsh off 48th street. In addition, lots of female or immature meadowhawks are now in the area. The first Halloween Pennants appeared this week. Twelve Spotted Skimmers and Common Whitetails remain abundant.
Other species are waning as the summer moves on. I saw only a handful of Dot-tailed Whitefaces on Thursday. Calico Pennants were also quite rare. There also were fewer Spangled Skimmers than in recent weeks. Friday I visited the Fort Custer Recreation Area, hoping to find a few more diverse species. Blue Dashers were not so dominant here, but were certainly out in abundance. The most common subject in the locations I visited was the Eastern Pondhawk. Unfortunatley, try as I might I was unable to get any interesting shots of the bright blue males, and only one shot of a green female.