One of the reasons why posting has been sparse here recently is that we took our annual beat-the-heat trip to Maine a couple of weeks early this year. For the most part, not much was different between late July and early August. The friendly snowshoe hare who lives in the garden of the little house we rent was still there…
…and the local eagle stopped by to say hello again:
As in previous years, we spent our time fishing for mackerel, jigging for squid, cooking the mackerel and squid, and hiking along the intensely picturesque eastern Maine shoreline.
What was different, if only subtly so, was the array of flowering plants.
In August, I have seen a few Campanula rotundifolia (harebells) flowering on cliffs and headlands. In July, there were many more plants in bloom.
At Quoddy Head State Park, I saw a single white specimen:
Also at Quoddy Head, the last flowers of Kalmia angustifolia (sheep laurel) could be seen in the bog. In previous years, there have been only seed capsules.
In the woods, I found another member of the Ericaceae. Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipes) lacks both leaves and chlorophyll and is parasitic on the mycorrhizal fungi of various tree species.
Like the sheep laurel, I have seen Silene vulgaris (bladder campion) in previous years, but always in seed. This year, plants were still blooming.
I finally was able to identify some of the Iris plants that grow near the sea. On the headlands near the splash zone, I find very small irises that I assume are Iris hookeri (beach head iris). A little further back, at the edge of the trees, I often find much taller irises growing where little streamlets are blocked by rocks or sand and form miniature bogs. I wasn’t sure if the taller plants were the same species, growing larger due to the local environment, or a completely different species. This year a few of the larger plants were still in bloom, and I could see that they are Iris versicolor (northern blue flag).
And I never get tired of photographing Chamaenerion angustifolium (fireweed), one of my favorite wildflowers.