What’s Out There

Top Photo: Mushrooms rise up through fresh mulch.

The small, gilled mushrooms pictured here all emerged from mulch in Explore the Wild on the same day. The following day, they had disappeared. All that remained were a few stragglers.

A flush of mushrooms.
Vigorous, yet fragile.
The next day they faded.
Just a few evanescing stragglers left.

I’m not sure of the identity of these fungi. If you have an opinion, it’s welcomed.

If you’re headed out to Earth Moves in Catch the Wind, you’ll probably run into a cloud of mist on your way. We’ve installed misters along the path to help cool you off on your journey to the exhibit.

About to enter the unknown – the mist.

Over in the garden next to the cafe we have a few specialty flowers and vegetables growing. One of them is Moon and Stars watermelon. Depending on which source you believe, this heirloom variety of watermelon was introduced in the 1910s or 1920s. It develops large yellow splotches (the moon) and small, bright yellow spots (the stars) on its skin. I don’t see a moon on the one pictured here buy there’s plenty of stars. Or are the larger spots just small moons?

Moon and Stars melon.

While you’re over near the garden, you may notice a bit of activity around the flowers growing there. Butterflies are busy at this time of year sipping nectar from various flowers. The variety of butterflies is increasing.

Ocola skipper. Note the long narrow forewing.
The familiar eastern tiger swallowtail.
Horace’s duskywing peeks over flowers it’s nectaring on.
Little glassywing pauses between nectaring on abundant flowers in garden at Butterfly House
The very common silver-spotted skipper.

Many birds are visiting the garden at the Butterfly House for both the nectar and seeds the flowers provide them.

Ruby-throated hummingbird sips nectar from sage.
Skittish American goldfinch peeks out from behind purple coneflower seed head.

The Butterfly House is not currently open, but the garden along the access ramp and steps is. There’s much activity between the birds, butterflies and moths that visit the flowers. You may see something interesting if you stop and have a look.

The way it hovers at flowers, you might think this a hummingbird. It’s a snowberry clearwing moth.

The garden is always a worthwhile stop.

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