Chestnut-sided Warbler

It looks as though I may get only one opportunity for Tower Grove Park this spring, but it was a good one. I’m glad it was a nice morning for Kathy Duncan’s first visit. We had quite a few cooperative birds at the water feature of the Gaddy Bird Garden where these photos of Chestnut-sided Warblers were taken.

Myrmecochory – Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s breeches)

In continuing my work from last year, this year I was able to capture a few Aphaenogaster rudis moving the diaspores of Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s breeches). Although this was the best year I’ve ever seen for D. cucullaria, getting everything to work just right in order to photograph this process was difficult. I was often short on the time needed to do this. Also, the cool temps we had this spring made it a bit difficult to find the foraging ants, even when the supply of diaspores I had at my disposal were ample.

-OZB

Orchid season is here!

The 2021 season has started with great success. The following orchids were found in Stoddard County on a trip with Pete Kozich, Casey Galvin and Stephen Dilks. Many thanks to all of you for your parts in finding these and several other fascinating plants on this day. It was a pleasure botanizing with you.

Worm-eating Warbler – April 2021

This spring has been flying by. With great cool and wet weather, the spring ephemeral wildflower season has been one of the best I’ve experienced and in the past two weeks the bird diversity has been on the rise. Just today, I had a Wood Thrush, a Cooper’s Hawk and a Barn Swallow from my suburban yard alone! This morning I found a Sedge Wren in the grasses at Beckemeier Conservation Area among about half a dozen warblers.

I hope you are getting out to enjoy some of this action and I want to share a few photos of one of my many favorites, this Worm-eating Warbler that is already setting up territory at Bush Wildlife Conservation Area.

Thank you for visiting!
-OZB

Ozark Spring Beauty (Claytonia arkansana)

Originally described in 2006 as Claytonia ozarkensis, this plant was considered a near-endemic to the Ozarks, being found in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Yatskievych et al. (2013) further defined this form and re-described this as C. arkansana. This species is known from only three counties in Arkansas and is classified as G2, or globally imperiled due to its required specialized habitat. C. arkansana is only found on sandstone bluffs and ledges. An interesting adaptation this plant has required to ensure its offspring remain in this required habitat is by negative phototropism of the pedicle after flowering. As the fruits develop, the pedicle turns away from light so that the seed may be dispersed in the cracks and bluff ledges where they need to germinate.

I want to thank Casey Galvin and John Oliver for helping me find this fascinating plant!

Yatskievych, G., R.J. Evans, and C.T. Witsell. 2013. A reevaluation of the Ozark endemic Claytonia ozarkensis (Montiaceae). Phytoneuron 50: 1-11.

Chasing Waterfalls in the Shawnee

Following a rainy period this spring, Casey and I visited a few spots in the Shawnee of southern Illinois. Some of these spots are well known, but can be difficult to visit. Another location is not nearly as well known, but easier to get to. The Shawnee really does canyons, large rocks and water features well. This is but a small sample of what can be found there.

Spring Ephemerals at Beckemeier C.A. – 2021

In my 15 or so years of paying attention to important things like this, I have never seen spring ephemerals having a better year than this one. Places within the St. Louis metro area, such as Englemann Woods Natural area and Beckemeier Conservation Area are loaded with wildflowers right now. Whether this is because of the cool and mild spring we have been having so far, or some other reasons, I don’t know. Here are a few photos taken this week at Beckemeier C.A. I hope you get out to enjoy these yourself.