The Wetlands is changing rapidly. The vista with its brilliant autumn light bouncing off the colorful leaves and reflecting in the water is perhaps at its best in the fall. It’s worth a visit just for the view, and there’s still more to come!
Besides the still blooming Goldenrod, Groundsel Tree (a shrub) and Heath Aster are blooming. Groundsel Tree (see Groundsel Tree, Explore the Wild Journal, September 1-15, 2008) has been attracting many bees, wasps, and other insects to its multitude of tiny yellow-green flowers. Since the first week of October, hundreds of Honey Bees, Bumble Bees, Carpenter Bees, various wasp species (mostly Paper Wasps), and to a lesser degree flies, beetles and butterflies have been taking advantage of the plants minute, but apparently very potent, nectar-producing flowers. It’s easy to walk right by this plant (growing next to the entrance to the Wetlands Overlook) and not notice the swarm of insects buzzing about. The plant has now gone by.
Much of the action has shifted to the asters. Not quite as many bees have been visiting these small, white-rayed flowers, but it’s still buzzing and worth a look-see on your stroll around the Loop. The asters are most abundant in Catch the Wind near the Dancing Plants and Bird Feeder Exhibits. Walk up close to the plants and simply gaze upon them for a minute or two, you’ll see lots of insects moving from flower to flower. Take a close look at some of the small bees. Check out their legs for bright yellow sacks of pollen.