View All Jul 30, 2015

Found on the Greenway: Walk Around Lake Haigler, Part II

By Jim Bogenschneider

This has been one hot summer so far, but I did get a chance to take another walk around lake Haigler. It was so hot I was forced to walk very slow, so I decided to look for some of the small things that sometimes we miss when walking at a faster. There is a trail that rings Lake Haigler for those who like to hike, like me, or you can rent a kayak and enjoy it from on the water.


The first thing I noticed was this Halloween Pennant (celithemis eponina) dragonfly perched on a small tree branch near the lake. There are over 300 species of dragonflies found in the US and about 150 species of damselflies. Dragonflies are true predators, larval odonates known as naiads, have been know to eat small fish and the adults eat small insects such as mosquitoes, gnats, and midges.


My next encounter was with an Eastern Tiger Swallow Tail butterfly. These are a very common sight at the greenway and can be seen all summer. This one looked to be very pale and not in the best of shape but still seemed to be enjoying the nectar of the Button Bush blossom.


The next thing I saw was this Spurred Butterfly Pea or Climbing Butterfly Pea (centrosema virginianum). There are 40 species of (centrosema) world wide but only 3 are found in the continental U.S.


Next thing that caught my eye was this small grasshopper sitting on a leaf of the same button bush as the Eastern Tiger Swallow Tail. There are about 1200 species of grasshopper in North America and this one looked immature, making any specific ID next to impossible. All of them have chewing mouth parts and powerful jumping legs. Most grasshoppers are herbivores although a few supplement their diet with other insects.


The last thing I want to tell you about is the plant that was attracting all the insects, the Button Bush. (Cephalanthus occidentalis). These are multi-stemmed shrubs that grow 6-12 feet, the flowers are small and grow in dense spherical clusters white or pale pink in color.


Hopefully the weather will cool off some, I would very much like to get out on the greenway more to see what else Nature is up to and what else can be found on the greenway.