Sunday, August 3, 2014

DuPage Lake Peatlands State Natural Area

DuPage Lake Peatlands SNA
July 29 en route home from banding Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in Gogebic County, Michigan, I made the point to visit one of the state natural areas in northern Wisconsin. I quickly perused the Wisconsin DNR website and read up on a few I had seen on the map along my route. I chose to visit DuPage Lake Peatlands State Natural Area on the possibility of adding large round-leaf orchid (Platanthera orbiculata) to my "life list." According to my web sources I had the possibility of finding these orchids in "deeply shaded, rich mesic woods, and shaded to semi-open bogs." Well DuPage Lake had both such habitats which meant a lot of ground to cover, more than I possibly had time for. I gave this orchid quest an honest effort in the hour or so I was there. Despite my efforts, I didn't find any Large Round-leaf Orchids. However, I discovered plenty of Nature's other little treasures!

DuPage Lake Peatlands SNA
This Spotted Coral Root (below) was among a patch of 8-10 plants I found when I happened to duck my head under the dark canopy while walking the roadside. Discovery of this orchid brought my annual total orchid species for the Great Lakes Region to twelve (since I'm not counting the not quite blooming Orange Fringed Orchid I saw in Lower Michigan a few days prior).

In another wet shaded forest area beneath a stand of hemlocks, I found a bounty of the saprophytic Indian Pipe blooming. Some were emerging in plain black and white tones, but several fluoresces were delicately colored in greenish blue and peach.

The roadsides were lively with several brown skippers for which I am too lazy to try to ID at this writing. This pair appeared to have been found in a randily compromising position. One of the two was fluttering its rear end at the other. Unfortunately coitus interruptus had to come along with her camera.

Robber flies resembling bumble bees were present too. But they were far too fast for me to capture any images.

I also came across of cluster of these Graphocephala species (likely coccinea) leaf hoppers. I think these horny little buggers were also attempting some late summer sexual frolicking in the leaves. I have seen Red-banded Leafhoppers which appear more brilliant red, blue and yellow in color in southern Wisconsin. However these were a bit different appearing with more greenish and red-orange hues. I'm not sure if there is variation in coccinea coloration or if this is a different species than what I've seen in southern Wisconsin. I'll save that knowledge quest for another day when I have more energy and time. 

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