I spent a long weekend up at Lake Erie again. The weather was beautiful and made for some great photographs, especially all of the different Asters that are in full bloom up there. Actually, a lot of the wildflowers were still blooming and I've read that the reason the area is so great for growing grapes is its soil conditions and the longer growing season provided by the lake. I find that interesting, the warmth of the lake water actually does moderate the temperatures up there so that its growing season is extended longer than we get here in Pittsburgh and it was noticeable in the wildflowers that I saw still blooming up there.
There were so many New England Asters along the beach and in the fields that I probably took over 60 pictures of them alone. The bright purple of the New England Aster flowers is especially pretty to me especially when there are large fields of them. They were literally EVERYWHERE.
White Wood Aster was prevalent up on Lake Erie too, but no where near as prevalent as the New England Aster I found. White Wood Aster is common down in the hills of Little Sewickley Creek too, but typically along the stream and stream bottoms whereas in New York, I found it in a host of settings, not limited to the stream bottoms.
Back in May I was lucky enough to get a picture of a female Snapping Turtle heading into the forest from a stream near where we stay. After doing some research back then, I read that females head into the woods to lay their eggs so I assumed that was what she was doing. And now, while we were fishing that same section of stream, my nephew found this baby Snapping Turtle along the stream bank... I suspect that this baby was hatched this year and it's interesting to me that I probably photographed the mother and now one of its offspring.
Rainbow Trout that live in Lake Erie are known more commonly as "Steelhead" for their bluish silver color and their winter spawning runs in the lake's feeder streams and rivers are legendary. We fished a few times for Steelhead while we were there, but we didn't have any luck. But I did find this 30+ inch Steelhead dead on the beach a few hundred yards from the mouth of Canadaway Creek. Surprisingly the resident Bald Eagles, Turkey Vultures, and foxes and coyotes hadn't feasted on it yet, but I am sure they will soon.
The petals on White Heath Aster are fuller than on White Wood Aster and the blossoms more "daisy-like" to me. This is the first I've encountered and photographed White Heath Aster but it was apparent that they were a different species of Aster and I like the daisy looking blossoms especially.
I saw a lot of Calico Aster but there were so many varieties of white flowered Asters, it became difficult to distinguish them all. But Calico Aster, with its purple stems, is one of the ones that I am becoming better at identifying.
Spotted Touch Me Nots have been done down here in Pittsburgh for about a month now, but up there in New York (with their longer growing season) they are still holding on. I was excited when found this bush on the beach, mixed in with some driftwood but it was one of just a few that I found, so they probably don't have long up there either.
We found this dead Red Fox near our bonfire on the beach. I'm pretty sure it is a Red Fox and not a Grey Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) based on its tail and other features, but it is dead and has been dead a while so I could be mistaken. Either way, we do see a lot of foxes and coyotes throughout the year on the beach so it's not surprising to find a dead one around.
Even though there were a lot of white flowered Asters in bloom, this plant's blossoms were noticeably smaller than all the other's and after doing some research, I'm fairly certain it is Small Flower White Aster. As I said, the blossoms were so much smaller that even in large patches of other white Asters, this plant and its tiny blossoms stood out, so to speak.