Thursday, July 30, 2015

What's going on at Jug Bay?

We've gone to Jug Bay three times in the last three weeks. The place is teeming with life at this time of year: ospreys calling, dragonflies zipping by, warblers bringing food to their fledglings, and flowers everywhere. Most of these pictures were taken on the short loop trail from the parking lot by the boat dock at Patuxent River Park.

jug bay
Spatterdock and rose mallow
Rose mallow
Wild grapes
Boletus frostii
Trumpet vine -- we saw hummingbirds and orioles drinking the nectar
Southern leopard frog
Red Admiral
Prothonotary warbler eating insects on the spatterdock leaves
Great blue skimmer
Moths on Clethra alnifolia
Cinnamon fern

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Things to look for in July

Our monthly roundup of things to look for this month:

A Clean Getaway
Photo credit: InspiredinDesMoines
I originally wrote about bald eagles for the 4th of July, but they're around all summer -- and some stay over the winter. Still, it's a great time of year to get out on the water and look for them. Matt once had the pleasure of watching an eagle fight an osprey for the fish it had just caught -- evidence of the theiving behavior that made Ben Franklin prefer the wild turkey for national bird.

Photo credit: The Natural Capital
While you're hanging out in wet places, keep an eye out for moisture-loving jewelweed. It's a pretty flower, a sparkly wonder, a trailside snack, and a soothing skin treatment. What's not to love?

hummingbird and cardinal flower
Photo credit: The Natural Capital
Another moisture-lover is cardinal flower. I used to love cardinal flower just because it's a gorgeous flower. It took a few years before I realized that if you sit quietly for long enough by a large patch, a hummingbird will come by. And that takes it to another level.

rose mallow (hibiscus)
Photo credit: The Natural Capital
I always thought of hibiscus as a tropical flower. It's the kind of thing you expect to see printed on Hawaiian shirts, or tucked behind a hula dancer's ear. But we've got native hibiscus right here in DC. It blooms in July, also in wet areas. (I guess I spend a lot of time on the water in July!)

Photo credit: brocktopia
Also out in July: Chantarelles. They are a choice culinary mushroom prized by chefs around the world. And they grow in Washington, DC. With all this rain, it's been a good year for them already.

Photo credit: Teague O'Mara
Five-lined skinks might be scurrying about as you go looking for these other things -- look for their blue tails!

In July we also find several other wild edibles, including milkweed, black locust beans, and sassafras.
Finally, check out our other posts on great things to do in the summer:
Natural places to go swimming
Public campgrounds
Places to rent a canoe or kayak