Monthly Archives: September 2021

Moth and Eagle

Ailanthus Webworm Moth (Atteva aurea)

Ailanthus Webworm Moth (Atteva aurea)

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

We had some out of town guest this weekend but they were here mostly to do the D.C. tourist thing. Late this morning the headed downtown to hit the museums and Cathy and I decided to go to the C&O Canal, walking northwest from Pennyfield Lock. It was a beautiful day, warmer than I prefer but only by a little. In the shade and particularly when there was a breeze it was lovely. We saw lots of painted turtles (Chrysemys picta), a great blue heron (Ardea herodias) and quite a few wildflowers. For today’s post I’m putting up two photos. The first is an ailanthus webworm moth (Atteva aurea) on a sunflower (Helianthus) of some sort. The larvae live in communal webs on their host trees. Interestingly, while they are thought to be native to South Florida, the ailanthus for which they are named (Ailanthus altissima, Tree of Heaven), is native to Northern China. It is believed that their original larval host was the paradise tree (Simarouba glauca) and Simarouba amara. It started moving north around the 1850s when introduced Ailanthus altissima contacted the moth’s native range.

The second photo is, as you have probably surmised, a Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). Cathy had walked a little further along and I waited in the shade at a pretty spot to take a few photos of the wildflowers there. While I was waiting for her to return I looked up and saw the eagle. I was able to point him out to a few others walking or biking on the canal but it was gone before Cathy returned. This isn’t the sharpest photo but it’s pretty clear what it is. The dark spot in the lower right is another bird. There were quite a few, flying fairly high in the sky.

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Dahlia ‘Bloomquist Jean’

Dahlia ‘Bloomquist Jean’

Dahlia ‘Bloomquist Jean’

We took a walk on the upper Rock Creek late this morning. It had been threatening rain all morning and it started to come down just as we got out of the car. Because we were in the woods most of our walk, it wasn’t really all that noticeable but we did end up fairly damp. Still, it was good to be out. The spicebush (Lindera benzoin) plants are covered with berries and many of the American Hornbeams (Carpinus caroliniana) are decorated with their winged fruit. After our walk we stopped briefly at the dahlia garden. I particularly like this flower, called ‘Bloomquist Jean’.

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U. S. National Arboretum

National Capital Columns

National Capital Columns

We decided to drive over to the National Arboretum today. It was a pleasant morning, although it got quite warm over the course of the day. We parked near the grove of state trees, which allowed us to park easily and in the shade. From there we walked to the National Capital Columns, which originally were part of the East Portico of the U. S. Capitol Building. An addition to the east side of the Capitol was constructed in 1958 and the columns removed. They were erected as you see them here in the mid-1980s, along with a pavement made from stone steps, also from the Capitol building as well as the reflecting pool added in the foreground. They site on a rise in a 20 acre meadow, filled with yellow Helianthus and other wildflowers. There are also a few trees, including a pair of Cornus officinalis (Japanese Cornel) and Gingo biloba, both heavily fruited.

Evergreen Wall, National Bonsai and Penjing Museum

Evergreen Wall, National Bonsai and Penjing Museum

From there we walked to the National Herb Garden. Although it wasn’t at its best, it is nice any time of year. Then into the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. I particularly liked the shapes and symmetry of the plants and the contrast of the plants with each other and with the white wall. It was quite warm by this point so we headed back to the car via the nicely shaded woods of the azalea collection, including both the Frederic P. Lee Garden and the walled Morrison Garden, one of my favorite spots, although it’s showing its age and perhaps not getting the upkeep it deserves.

We drove past Fern Valley and stopped at the Asian Collections. Although there was not really much in bloom, we very much enjoyed the amazing range of greens in the dappled shade of larger trees. It’s on a steep slop and a nice place to wander. It also reminded me why I love Camellias so much. I have six, but somehow that doesn’t seem like enough. But we only have so much space.

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Early Fall Color

Early Fall Color

Early Fall Color

I worked in the office today, as opposed to working from home. Then I had lunch with three work friends, including my former—now retired—boss. It was great to finally get together again and get caught up on what’s been going on for the last year and a half. A couple of those who had planned to come couldn’t at the last minute so we’ll need to plan another get together before too long. After work Cathy and I went for a walk in the neighborhood and I took this photo of some early fall color. It’s not really fall yet, but there are hints that it’s on its way.

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Rocklands Winery

Rocklands Winery

Rocklands Winery

We went to Rocklands Winery this evening with a couple friends, Krystal and Mike. I took a few pictures of them but they aren’t crazy about having their pictures taken and even though they turned out well, I decided not to post them here. We ran into two young women that knew Krystal from her days as a first grade teacher and I took pictures of her with each of them. We were also fortunate enough to have Greg the Elder join us for a bottle of wine and a wonderful evening of laughter and reminiscing. If you’ve never been to Rocklands, I can recommend it quite highly.

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Busy As A…

Bumble Bee Leaving a <em>Rudbeckia</em> ‘Herbstonne’

Bumble Bee Leaving a Rudbeckia ‘Herbstonne’

Cathy and I went to Stadler Nursery late this morning. I bought a ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius) called ‘Fireside’. It has very dark leaves which are a really lovely red early in the year and darken until they are nearly black in the late summer and fall. As usual I also took some flower photos. Getting an insect on the wing is not something I’ve had much success doing but this one turned out pretty well. It’s a common eastern bumble bee (Bombus impatiens) leaving a Rudbeckia ‘Herbstonne’ flower. We have a lot of Rudbeckia in our yard but most of it is one variety that is quite invasive. I wouldn’t mind thinning that out and replacing some with different types and this one is pretty nice.

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