Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Female redwing blackbird

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Female Redwing Blackbird 7224

Look how different the female redwing blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) is from the male. Like the previous photograph, this one comes from the Volo Bog State Natural Area in Lake County, Illinois, on June 7th.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 22, 2016 at 5:08 AM

Posted in nature photography

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Redwing blackbird

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Redwing Blackbird on Cattail Remains 7214A

Just as I’ve seen redwing blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) do in Austin, one had landed on a cattail stalk at the Volo Bog State Natural Area in Lake County, Illinois, on June 7th. This male seemed to be showing annoyance at our presence, or perhaps alarm, given how close the boardwalk passed to a nest with eggs in it.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 21, 2016 at 4:10 AM

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Volo Bog lushness

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Volo Bog Lushness 7418

Now that you’ve seen a few closeups of plants at the Volo Bog State Natural Area in Lake County, Illinois, on June 7th, here’s a wide-angle view showing the lushness of the bog.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 20, 2016 at 4:52 AM

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Horsetail detail

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Horsetail Detail 7461

From the Volo Bog State Natural Area in Lake County, Illinois, on June 7th comes this elongated closeup of a horsetail (Equisetum spp.).

Of the more than two thousand photographs that have appeared here over the past five years, this may be the one with the greatest height-to-width ratio.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 19, 2016 at 4:44 AM

Why is it called prairie smoke?

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Okay, you say, I get the prairie, but why the smoke? Here’s why:

Prairie Smoke Plumes 7183

After the flowers of Geum triflorum get fertilized, they produce tufts of wispy strands that from a distance and with some imagination look like puffs of smoke. Another vernacular name, old man’s whiskers, comes very close to the old man’s beard I’m so familiar with in Austin. Despite the striking resemblance in the two flowers’ latter stages, these plants aren’t even in the same botanical family. Yet another plant that ends up like this is the Apache plume I saw in New Mexico two years ago.

Today’s picture, like yesterday’s, is from the Volo Bog State Natural Area in Lake County, Illinois, on June 7th.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 18, 2016 at 5:00 AM

Prairie meets bog

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Prairie Smoke Buds 7186

One of the first native plants we encountered when Melissa took us to the Volo Bog on June 7th was Geum triflorum, known as prairie smoke. Here you see a few buds. From what I’ve read online, the flowers of this species occur in threes. From what I’ve seen with my own eyes, the flowers of Geum triflorum are quite different from those of the Geum canadense that grows in Austin.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 17, 2016 at 5:29 AM

Echinacea on the prairie

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Echinacea pallida 6763

As we drove through northeastern Oklahoma and southwestern Missouri on June 4th we saw good stands of Echinacea along the highway. Whether they were natural or sown there I don’t know. The Echinacea pallida in today’s mostly pallid photograph from the Diamond Grove Prairie in southwestern Missouri is presumably natural.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 16, 2016 at 5:09 AM

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