Tag Archive | wilderness

Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

This is a 4 mile, drive through wilderness preserve. How cool is that?! There are alligators here, so staying in the car was just fine with me.
This area was originally used to grow rice. Settlers cleared the area of trees, and built levees to control the water.
The water here is what is called brackish, a mix of saltwater and fresh. There is a delicate balance going on. Not too much salt, not too little.

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This channel of freshwater from the Little Back River was made by the US Army Engineers. The area was getting too much saltwater up from the Port of Savannah as modern needs enlarged the port. The USACEΒ  diverted freshwater (very salt free)Β  from farther up the river to balance out the ecology.

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Unknown butterfly. Folks stop to see what I’m taking photos of, and after they see is not a gator, they pass by, all pissed off. πŸ˜›
The speed limit was 20, however hubby just allowed our truck to idle at about 4.5 MPH. There are limited areas to pull over to let folks pass. We pulled over often as folks just flew past us. Why go through such a beautiful area so fast?! Gators were the main attraction. Folks wanted to get to the next gator and didn’t care about anything else.  When a gator was found, a “parking cluster f**k” would occur. No one understands what pull off the road means. And what is it about leaving doors open? You’re not a cop requiring a shield, an escaped fugitive or a standing start racecar driver. Close your dang door!
I didn’t bring two important things on this trip… binoculars or a charged real camera. I left my charger at home.. Illinois home. Gaaaa! So sorry you have to deal with camerone photos.

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Alligator Alley is a common name for roads down here!

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Yellow-bellied Sliders! My hubby has a great eye for finding things in the brush. It also seemed all the good stuff was on the driver’s side. I ended up getting in the back seat on his side for awhile to not miss anything!

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Tree tunnels. Love them! These are ‘Live Oaks’ (Quercus virginiana) covered with Spanish moss. They call them live oaks here because the new leaves push the brown ones out, thus they are never really leafless or ‘dead’. Over the pond, they have evergreen oaks…. these are different.

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Snowy Egret. Another snow bird! These guys live by me in the summer and take the long flight down here seasonally. They were everywhere!

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Here’s what everyone came for! Mr. Crocodile! 🐊 We spotted this guy about 20 feet away from the road. My guess is he’s about 15′ long. The cool temperatures (50F-70F) keep them kinda sluggish and they generally only come out to sun themselves.

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Unknown bird. This guy was right on the side of the road. Not afraid of me at all, hence I was able to get a few closer shots.

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Another tree tunnel.

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A beautiful line of oaks.

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Another beautiful, unidentified  butterfly

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Liverleaf Hepatica / Hepatica americana… I think! It looked like beautiful shamrocks.

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Not as big as the last one, however still a gator! A fellow tourist pulled up along side of us standing outside taking pix. He asked us in very broken English, “Cross?” And motioned across the road. I think gators were new to him! We nodded no and I made a sleepy type motion to him and he understood. He was safe.  Ha!  Just remember… I dont need to outrun the gator, I just need to outrun you!

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Such a beautiful area… I wonder what it looked like with when all of the trees were still here…

Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

McHenry Lock & Dam

Last weekend, when we had a tease of spring in the air, we took a hike at Moraine Hills State Park with a quick trip to the McHenry dam. It was a dam great day to go!

Stolen directly from the Moraine Hills Website, an excerpt on the local geology:

The 48-acre Lake Defiance, located near the center of the park, was formed when a large portion of ice broke away from the main glacier and melted. Lake Defiance is gradually filling in with peat from its unstable shoreline. The lake is one of the few glacial lakes in Illinois that has remained largely undeveloped, maintaining a near-natural condition.

Pike Marsh, a 115-acre area in the southeast corner of the park, is home to many rare plants. Its outer fen area (a very rare marsh wetland) includes Ohio goldenrod, Kalm’s lobelia, dwarf birch and hoary willow, while cattails and bulrushes grow in its interior. Pike Marsh also supports one of the state’s largest known colonies of pitcher plants, which attract, trap and digest insects.

The 120-acre region known as Leatherleaf Bog is an excellent example of kettle-moraine topography. In geological terms, a kettle is a depression formed when an isolated block of glacial ice melts. The bog consists of a floating mat of sphagnum moss and leatherleaf surrounded by a moat of water. Marsh fern, marsh marigold, St. John’s wort and several species of willow put down roots here. Because both Pike Marsh and Leatherleaf Bog are dedicated nature preserves, they are protected by law.

Moraine Hills offers three examples of wetland enhancements. Yellow-head, Black Tern and Opossum Run marshes are samples of what can be accomplished with a little help from man.

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This is part of Possosum Run Marsh.

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Lake Defiance in the background. Someone is waking up!

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Sandhill Cranes! They are all over the place. Rumor has it that they are the true heralds of spring as they don’t migrate until the weather is truly going to turn nice.

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When I was here two years ago, the water as very high and running over this part of the dam. They are working on the lock system in the background.

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Β© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Autumn Blooming Flowers 10-21-2014

Happy Tuesday to you all!!

Click HERE to see what was blooming last year!!

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If you can figure out what I was taking a picture of here, I will send you the booby-prize!!

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Cool thistle heads.

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Helenium autumnale – Sneezeweed… Achooooo!

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Helenium autumnale – Sneezeweed

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Milkweed seeds – Blowing n the wind!

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Gentainella quinquefolia – Stiff Gentian

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I know it is an aster – never seen one with a purple center, tho.

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Solidago nemoralis – Gray goldenrod

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I loved the fall color of this, however can’t ID it. =-(

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More asters I can’t ID.

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Monarda didyma – A bit of a late riser!

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Autumn Blooming Flowers 10-20-2014

Happy Monday Again.
Does it ever become any easier to wake-up and get out of the house on a Monday??

Click HERE to see what was blooming last year.

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Autumn pot annuals

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Grass seedheads!

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Parthenocissus quinquefolia – Virginia creeper

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Aster ericoides – Heath aster

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Catmint and daylily

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Cool annual grass!

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Chasmanthium latifolium – Northern Sea oaks

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Β Anemone Γ— hybrida ‘September Charm’

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Oxalis triangularis – False Shamrock

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Ampelopsis brevipedunculata var. maximowiczii ‘Elegans’ – Porcelain Vine

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Tricyrtis formosana – Toad Lily

I love this one, so beautiful!

Autumn Blooming Flowers 10-15-2014

Happy Wednesday.
Click HERE to see what was blooming last year!

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Rodgersia aesculifolia – Rodgers flower

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Same pot from summer – at the train station

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Cool unidentified seedhead – Solidago – Goldenrod

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Liatris spicata – Blazing star

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Grass seed

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Echinacea – Coneflower

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Verbena

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Calamagrostis Γ— acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’

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Malus – Crabapple

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Solidago speciosa – Showy Goldenrod

Autumn Blooming Flowers 10-14-2014

Happy Tuesday!

Click HERE to see what was blooming last year!

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Asparagus seeds

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Helianthus tuberosus – Jerusalem artichoke also called sunroot, sunchoke

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Parthenocissus quinquefolia – Virginia creeper growing on Picea abies – Norway Spruce

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Picea Abies – Norway Spruce cones

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Solanum dulcamara – Bittersweet Nightshade

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Euonymus fortunei ‘Colorata’ – Wintercreeper – Beautiful fall color

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Euonymus alatus ‘Compactus’ – Burning BushΒ 

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Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’

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Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ – These don’t normally turn this pink tinge. Very cool tho!!

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Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’

Fall Blooming Flowers 10-3-2014

Finally! Happy Friday!!

Click HERE to see what was blooming last year!

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Rose hips

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MONSTER carrot.

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Tradescantia ohiensis – spiderwort

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Dahlias

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Verbena bonariensisΒ  – Verbena

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Echinacea ‘Double White Delight’ – coneflower

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Eryngium yuccifolium – Rattlesnake master

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Caryopteris Γ— clandonensis ‘Longwood Blue’ – Blue mist shrub

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Sedum ‘Autumn joy’

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Penstemon digitalis – beard tounge

Β© Ilex – Midwestern Plants

Fall Blooming Flowers 10-2-2014

Happy Thursday… Ah, it won’t be long. One more day till the weekend!

Click HERE to see what was blooming last year!
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Gentianella quinquefolia – Stiff Gentian

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Solanum sisymbriifolium – Sticky nightshade

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Hydrangea

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Asclepias incarnata – Milkweed Pod

Oncopeltus fasciatus – Milkweed Bug

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Sonchus arvensis – Perennial sowthistle

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Bidens cernua Nodding bur-marigold

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Typha latifolia – Cattails

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Not sure!

Β© Ilex – Midwestern Plants

Fall Blooming Flowers 10-1-2014

Happy Hump Day! Whoop!

Click HERE to see what was blooming last year!

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The Thistle o’ Scotland
(As translated by Malcolm MacFarlane)

O, the Thistle o’ scotland was famous of auld,
Wi’ its toorie sae snod and its bristles sae bauld;
Tis the Badge o’ my Country, it’s aye dear tae me,
and thocht o’ them baith brings the licht tae ma e’e.

It’s strength and its beauty the storm never harms;
It stan’s on its guard like a warrior in arms;
Yet its down is as saft as the gull’s on the sea,
And its tassle as bricht as my Jeanie’s blue e’e.

Chorus:
O, my country, what wonder yer fame’s gane afar;
For yer sons hae been great baith in peace and in war;
While the sang and the tale live they’ll aye win respect,
The lads neath the bonnets wi’ thistles bedeckt.

Chorus:
Lang syne the invaders cam owre to our shore,
And fiercely our Thistle they scutched and they tore;
When they maist thocht it deid, twas then it up bore,
And it bloomed on their graves quite as strong as before.

Chorus:
My blessings be yours. Is there Scotcsman ava
Wad stan’ by and see ony harm on ye fa’ ?
Is there gentle or semple wha lives in our land
Wad refuse to drink health to the Thistle sae grand.

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Conium maculatum – Poison Hemlock

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Phlox

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hmmm.

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Cutie, fuzzy bees!

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Doellingeria umbellata – Flat-topped aster

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Monarda punctata -spotted beebalm

Love these seedheads!!
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Lovely woodland flowers

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Aster

Β© Ilex – Midwestern Plants