Buggy Day at Bristow Prairie

The wetland by the lake was filled with bistort (Bistorta bistortoides), Oregon checkermallow (Sidalcea oregana), and arrowleaf groundsel (Senecio triangularis). We hadn’t had time to explore this area last trip, but I like to come down here at least once a year. There are too many wonderful spots at Bristow Prairie to see them all on a single trip.

Follicles of Menzies’ larkspur still filled with seeds. Usually when an animal brushes by the plant, the seeds get flung out of the capsules. More than once, I inadvertently kicked a plant as I reached forward to grab the seeds, knocking them out before I could get any. Plants have so many clever ways of distributing their seeds.

After the terrific trip John Koenig and I had to Bristow Prairie earlier in the month (see Still More Discoveries at Bristow Prairie), I decided to return on July 15 to see the next wave of flowers. This trip was not nearly as pleasant as the first because most of the afternoon I was hounded by biting flies. Some looked to be deer flies; others were both larger and smaller, but they were all determined to drive me crazy. At the very end of the day, some house fly-sized ones were actually leaving what looked like bruises on my arms just minutes after they bit me. Luckily they didn’t itch for all that long. I’ve never experienced that before in the Western Cascades, so it was doubly disconcerting. Biting flies were one of the many things I disliked about my short tenure living in the Midwest.

Still, there were a reasonable number of enjoyable insects, even if the butterflies were not as abundant as usual. I also managed to collect some seed and enjoy the beautiful weather and the many flowers still in bloom.

This photo might look like it is upside-down, but in fact, Merriam’s alumroot (Heuchera merriamii) grows happily under overhanging rocks. You can also see many small seedlings starting above the main plant.

A small but stunning metallic bee working its way around the hairy center of a dwarf cat’s ear (Calochortus elegans) flower

I was very surprised to come upon a single buckeye butterfly. They are not seen very often in this area.

Both the tattered West Coast lady and bumble bee seem to be enjoying the coyote mint (Monardella odoratissima) blooming in the rocky areas.

While sitting on the ground photographing butterflies, this thread-waisted sand wasp (Ammophila) was finding something of interest on my shoe. What that was, I can’t imagine, but it certainly made it easier to photograph than when it was flying around.

Even without a specialized body part, this beetle seems to be collecting quite a bit of pollen from the flowers of Siskiyou false hellebore (Veratrum insolitum).

A female clodius parnassian nectaring on Oregon checkermallow (Sidalcea oregana) down by the lake.

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