Friday, December 31, 2010

Animal tracks on the Wabash River bank

Snow cover reveals animal activity. These tracks are on the bank of the Wabash River, at the footbridge over the ditch just north of Lyboult Park. They could be either from river otters (Lontra canadensis) or from beaver (Castor canadensis), I don't know.

Link to Lontra canadensis:

Link to last year's post on otters:

Animals climb out of the water on to the bank of the river here. Notice that the Wabash River water is clear today and not murky with algae as you see it in the summer.

Obviously these tracks in this last picture are from beaver activity. This area of tree saplings is close to the trail along the Wabash. Beaver have come out of the river and crossed the trail to harvest these trees. They chew them down here and drag them back to the river.

Link to Castor canadensis:

All pictures were taken December 25, 2010.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


This hawthorn tree (Crataegus) is rather old and thick for being out in the wild. Hawthorns are a small understory tree in the woods. This is along the Wabash River trail near Lafayette, between the US 52 bridge and Heron Island. The younger tree in the background to the left of the old trunk is also a hawthorn tree. Picture taken Dec. 25, 2010.

Link to Crataegus:

Monday, December 27, 2010

Heron Island

The downstream end of Heron Island, from the Wabash River trail. The river water is clear this time of year.

Picture taken Dec. 25, 2010.

Link to Wabash River trail:

Link to Wabash River level:

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Barred Owl

This barred owl (Strix varia) was sitting quietly in this bush. I was walking north on the Wabash River trail in Lafayette and didn't notice this big bird until I was right along side of it, only about ten feet away. It didn't seem to mind my presence and just looked at me and didn't fly away. This part of the trail is at McAllister Park. I kept walking and got as far as Heron Island before turning back and when I got back to this place two hours later this same owl was still there sitting on the same branch.

Picture taken December 25, 2010.

Link to Strix varia:

Link to Wabash River trail:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Evening Primrose in Winter

Fruits of the evening primrose (Oenethera biennis), at Brown Street, in West Lafayette, where it overlooks the Wabash River. Dried fruits like these are full of evening primrose seeds that fall out when you break them open. Picture taken December 17, 2010.

Link to previous post on evening primrose:

Link to evening primrose:

Link to Brown Street Overlook:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Smoke tree

This American Smoke Tree (Cotinus obovatus) is recognized as the largest Cotinus obovatus in the world. It's not native to Indiana though, rather it grows wild in Missouri and Arkansas. It was originally planted on Wood Street in West Lafayette and grew to great size before it was transplanted to this location, south of the Purdue campus in the Purdue service area near the power plant. Picture taken November 21, 2010.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Wabash River at Lafayette, November 2010

The Wabash River, looking upstream, at Lafayette.

Link to Wabash River level:

After the deconstruction of the sand mandala, the sand was carried here to enter the river.

All pictures taken November 20, 2010.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Low Water

At Coot Slough, looking north from Lindberg Road. Usually this is standing water. But it has been dry lately.

Wabash River at Lafayette. This is low water too. Both pictures were taken October 24, 2010.

Link to Wabash River level:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

New England aster and Switchgrass

This rain garden on the courthouse square is planted with native plants. The purple flowers on the left are New England asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae). The grass on the right is switchgrass (Panicum virgatum). It's getting pretty common to be seeing switchgrass used as ornamental grass around here these days. You can find switchgrass in its original native habitat out at Black Rock. The low growing plant in the front is purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) although the flowers are long gone for the season. The narrow leaved plant in front of the asters is probably some kind of iris. Picture taken October 24, 2010.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wabash River in Wells County

The Wabash is a much smaller river in Wells County. Looking upstream in this view, at Acres Along the Wabash Nature Preserve in Wells County. October 8, 2010.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Solidago caesia

This is one of the common woodland goldenrods, Solidago caesia. This is in the ACRES nature preserve in Wells County, Acres Along the Wabash. Picture taken October 8, 2010.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Mullein (Verbascum thapsus), in front of a soybean field in Gibson County. Picture taken October 7, 2010.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tumbleweed Amaranth and Fall Panicum

This tumbleweed amaranth (Amaranthus albus) has a striking red fall coloration. The straw-colored plant behind the tumbleweed is fall panicum (Panicum dichotomiflorum). In Allen County, east of Fort Wayne, along Doyle Road. This land is at the west end of what was once known as the Great Black Swamp, the bed of the ancient Lake Maumee. Picture taken October 8, 2010.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pokeweed in October

Pokeweed gets big and red and scary in the fall. Only plant I know of that looks scarier than the red stems of pokeweed is the vicious looking thorns of the honey locust. This pokeweed was growing on a roadside in Gibson County, October 7, 2010.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Oriental bittersweet

The colorful fruits of oriental bittersweet vine (Celastrus orbiculatus). This vine is along the Monon Trail, near Greyhound Pass, in Westfield, Hamilton County.

Celastrus orbiculatus vines wrap around the trunk of a sycamore tree in typical fashion. At the Nature Park at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Marion County. Both pictures taken September 25, 2010.

Friday, October 1, 2010


This Hydrophyllum has found it doesn't need dirt to grow in, a fallen log is suitable enough. Possibly it is Hydrophyllum macrophyllum. At the nature park at Indianapolis Museum of Art, Marion County. Picture taken September 25, 2010.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Amanita muscaria var. guessowii

These mushrooms are Amanita muscaria var. guessowii, growing under pine trees in Martell Forest, Tippecanoe County. Pictures taken Sept. 19, 2010.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Caterpillar of the Hickory Tussock Moth (Lophocampa caryae), at Martell Forest, Tippecanoe County, September 19, 2010.

Link to Lophocampa caryae:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bur oak at Shamrock Park

This big bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) at Shamrock Park in Lafayette has got thousands of acorns this year. Pictures taken September 14, 2010.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Jerusalem artichoke

The Jerusalem artichoke is actually a kind of sunflower, Helianthus tuberosus. This rather large colony of Helianthus tuberosus is along the paved trail along Cumberland Ave. west of U.S. Highway 52 in West Lafayette. Pictures taken September 12, 2010.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sugarberry tree

This sugarberry tree (Celtis laevigata) is planted on the Purdue campus along Russell St. near Harrison St. A very close relative to the sugarberry tree is the hackberry tree (Celtis occidentalis) which is very common in the wild in the Lafayette area.

Link to Celtis laevigata:

Fruits of the sugarberry tree are indistinguishable from the fruits of the hackberry trees. Most of the fruit is a hard inedible seed, but the thin layer of pulp around the seed has a taste and a texture remarkably like a date. Sugarberry leaves are smaller and smoother than hackberry leaves.

This is an odd sugarberry tree indeed, here are a few odd branches that have the look of the larger-leaved hackberry tree.

The warty-textured bark of the sugarberry tree is also exactly the same as that of the hackberry tree. Pictures taken September 7, 2010.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Garter Snake

This garter snake was along a trail in Southwestway Park in Indianapolis, Marion County. I approached close enough to photograph it and it never moved. Not near any water. Could possibly be a Butler's Garter Snake (Thamnophus butleri). Or maybe not. Picture taken Sept. 6, 2010.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Eupatorium perfoliatum

This boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) is at Southwestway Park in Marion County. It's the Eupatorium with perfoliate leaves. Eupatorium perfoliatum is harder to find than some of the other bonesets like Eupatorium altissimum. This is in a rather unusual place as it is a fairly dry slope under a power line, usually this species is found in wet spots. Picture taken Sept. 6, 2010.

The sunflower-looking plants in the background are possibly Rudbeckia triloba.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Low water on the Wabash River

The Wabash River is as low as it's been all year. This picture was taken at Lafayette on August 26, 2010 and it's still going lower.

Eleagnus umbellata

The fruits of autumn olive (Eleagnus umbellata) are ripening. This autumn olive is along the Jackson Highway roadside in Tippecanoe County, August 24, 2010.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Satyr comma butterfly on elderberry

Satyr comma butterfly (Polygonia satyrus) on elderberry leaves (Sambucus canadensis). Tippecanoe County, August 24, 2010.

Link to Polygonia satyrus:

Link to Polygonia satyrus:

Link to previous post on elderberry:

Eastern tailed blue butterfly on mountain-mint

This eastern tailed blue butterfly (Cupido comyntas) is on a mountain-mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum). Tippecanoe County, August 24, 2010.

Link to Cupido comyntas:

Link to Cupido comyntas:

Link to previous post on Pycnanthumum virginianum:

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Buckeye butterfly on blue lobelia

Buckeye butterfly (Junonia coenia) on blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica). Tippecanoe County, August 24, 2010.

Link to buckeye butterfly:

Link to previous post on buckeye butterfly:

Link to previous post on blue lobelia:

Banded tussock moth caterpillar

This banded tussock moth caterpillar (Halysidota tesellaris) is perched on a tall blue lettuce leaf (possibly Lactuca biennis). Tippecanoe County, August 24, 2010.

Link to Halysidota tesellaris:

Link to Halysidota tesellaris:

Link to tussock moth:

Link to Lactuca biennis:

Friday, August 27, 2010

Wild plums are ripe

Wild plums (Prunus americana), along Jackson Highway, west of West Lafayette. Picture taken August 24, 2010. Prunus americana grows wild on roadsides, fencerows, and edges of woods. Fruits good to eat.

Link to Prunus americana in Celery Bog Park:

Link to Prunus americana:

Link to Prunus americana:

Ganoderma lucidum mushroom

These Ganoderma lucidum mushrooms are in Celery Bog Park. Pictures taken August 24, 2010.

Link to Ganoderma lucidum:

Link to Ganoderma lucidum:

Wood nettle

Wood nettle (Laportea canadensis), at Celery Bog Park, August 24, 2010.