Walking in the wetlands.

Here in the Land of Perpetual Drought, we still have wetlands! On Sunday Pippin and I found ourselves with a few hours for just the two of us, and we walked in a wetlands wildlife preserve. We saw snowy egrets, ducks, red-winged blackbirds and a few other birds we didn’t know the names of, as we walked a 2-mile loop in the afternoon.

I noticed that the docent-led tours of the site only go through June; is it because the birds aren’t as plentiful after that? Or is it the schoolchildren who are scarce then? In any case, the plants were easier for us to get close to than the birds, although they were also flying around in the wind, so I don’t have many good pictures, but I wanted to share a bit of what I did come home with.

These tall and long-stemmed plants were covered with little overlapping seed pods, in varying stages of maturity and color, from purple like this one to tan and near white. One of them was covered with black and green bugs who seemed to be close relations.

I got one focused profile picture of a green one, and my entomological identification skills are practically non-existent, so I am putting a blurry picture here, too, in case someone who knows things happens by and wants to instruct me.

It’s always a bit sad when one meets a fellow-creature and can’t greet them by name, or learn the name in anticipation of a next meeting. [Tipped off by a commenter below, I will call this fellow “Green Stink Bug” if I meet him again.] But I must prioritize, and probably should care more about that sadness as it pertains to the humans I meet…. Let’s see, what was the name of that woman I met at church Sunday?

The flowers above I had been walking briskly by, thinking unconsciously of Queen Anne’s Lace, and then suddenly I thought, No, they are most likely Parsley Family members, but the flower head is not the same, and they are so short… When I came home I looked up various hemlocks, etc, and didn’t come to any conclusions. 😦

In the process, though, I read on Wikipedia: “Apiaceae or Umbelliferae, is a family of mostly aromatic flowering plants named after the type genus Apium and commonly known as the celery, carrot or parsley family, or simply as umbellifers.” The word umbellifer made me laugh out loud; somehow it sounds like a group who would resist domination by naming and categorizing, and from now on I will just be happy if I can be on terms with them all friendly enough to say, “Hello, Umbellifer!”

Another mystery plant is this one:

…which did not always grow in a mound shape. It has long draping stems with bead-like buds:

At least, they appear to be about to open into flowers. I have to be content to remain ignorant and unknowing about more and more things, it seems, the longer I live.

Pippin is the perfect companion on a walk like this. She doesn’t mind my dullness or my stopping and staring; actually she encourages the latter, as she is always drawing my attention to something I was oblivious to. She had never been to this place before, and it had been years since I went with my husband. We were so glad to be together on a gorgeous and mild summer day in a natural oasis of sorts hidden away from most people — but the birds know!

17 thoughts on “Walking in the wetlands.

  1. What a beautiful place to explore! The natural world is full of wonderous things. I love umbillifers and especially Queen Anne’s Lace. Meg☺

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful. That next to the last picture is fascinating.

    Lewis and Barfield didn’t like to go on walking tours with Tolkien because he stopped to look at things. I will go with Tolkien. I like him better anyway.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mary Kathryn, I think you are right! They are also called shield bugs, it seems, and there are different species of green stink bugs in California…. so who knows which this one is. But I’m satisfied to know that much name. Thank you very much!!


  3. By coincidence we also walked at a wetlands area today. I think the heat of the afternoon sun had most of the birds hiding. Also there was a sign in the parking lot that a bear had been spotted ( didn’t say when but it made me a bit nervous!).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love your walk and so nice to see wetlands this time of year. Oh, a green stink bug. When I was a kid and playing hiding go seek with my cousins, I hid in what I thought was the best spot. I looked down and I was covered in them! I still shudder when I see them. Its nice to know that they are called a Shield bug. How nice to have time to walk with your daughter like that. I hope you had a nice 4th.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your photographs! I just got a new camera that I’m trying to learn how to use! I splurged with my ‘blow money’ I’ve been saving up to take on a trip out West later this summer!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope your new camera is only part of the trip expenses, and that it doesn’t mean you aren’t coming…? You will be able to take better photos than mine – I’m just using my iPhone SE πŸ™‚


  6. Have you met the wonderful people at BugGuide yet? Here’s the site URL. Once you’re registered, you can submit a photo of whatever creature you’ve found, and some friendly etymologist will provide an ID. Sometimes it happens within the hour. Sometimes, it can take a couple of days. But I only have one photo that never was ID’d. It does have to be a good photo — at least clear enough for the critter’s features to be discerned — but it’s a wonderful resource.


  7. I recognized the stink bug right away! I don’t know if we have them here, but I know we did in Texas. You have lots of plants I’ve never seen before. I can sympathize with you on remembering names. Being in a new church it’s kind of overwhelming trying to remember names! Sometimes you just have to say “Hi!” and smile real big. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

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