June 14, 2008 - Photo Hike at the Wilkie Unit

Nice DigitalNature hike at the Wilkie, amazing flowers, insects, birds, and smells abounded. I guess I made my "Pests you Love to Hate" flyer a little too convincing tho, as we were the only ones to show up. Ah well, we weren't the only living things there. You had to watch where you stepped or you could be squishing a Cecropia moth, as Sharon luckily pointed out.
Even the invasives were beautiful, as the Leafy Spurge can attest.
I had never noticed their shiny, iridescent centers that seemed to be providing nectar for appreciative ants, bees, and butterflies. "Learn something new every day, if you're not careful..." as my Dad used to say.
Fantastic dragonfly day. I don't know one species from the next, but they were all cool, and diverse. Did you know they found a dragonfly fossil in France once with a 19" wingspan?
The moths and butterflies were competing for coolness with the dragonflies. Plenty of flowers blooming for all, including Crown Vetch in this case, and tons of wild roses.
Of course we found what I came to talk about, everyones favorite scourge, the Wood (or Dog) Tick (Dermacentor variabilis). They were plentiful, as were the mosquitoes, but I wouldn't say epidemic. It was very windy and that helped keep the bugs down somewhat, but personally I see these parasites as a fact of life if you want to get to the natural world. I think we've gotten pretty spoiled with all of our spraying from helicopters, bug-repellent-impregnated clothing and the artificial habitat that we call home.
On the drive back I was thinking about the Lewis & Clark Expedition and all the natives and nomads that came before them and how they dealt with bugs. Maybe it was still the main campfire topic when the day was done, who knows?

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