Late summer is still going on strong. Leaves are starting to fall, the insects are busy pollinating flowers, Goldenrods are giving people allergies, and the Beech Aphids are pooping everywhere. There's no doubt, the woods are changing in preparation for the coming fall.
This is the first I've photographed Great Blue Lobelia this year and I found these plants growing alongside a clearing in the woods. The blue flowers are especially striking to me and are some of the my late season favorites. They typically grow along a vertical spire, but this one grew in more of a cluster, filling the frame with blossoms nicely.
I believe this to be Canada Goldenrod (S. altissima) but the fact is there are so many different types of Goldenrod, I'm not 100% certain on my identification. But based on the research I did, Canada Goldenrod seems like the most likely species. And there's a lot of Goldenrods are in full bloom right now, giving fields and clearings a deep yellow hue.
Orange Mycena is definitely one of my favorite mushrooms, probably because of their beautiful orange color but also because of the interesting places where they grow. I found this clump growing on a fallen branch at the water's edge, literally inches away from a small tributary of Little Sewickley Creek.
Pennsylvania Smartweed is still holding on and even though I don't see as much of it as I did a few months ago, there are large patches that are still flowering. All of the blossoms on the plants in the patch where I captured this photo were looking bright pink and healthy.
I've written and photographed Beech Aphids before, but think this photograph turned out especially good. Beech Aphids are difficult to photograph because they move so much while about their business, so they normally look like one large white mass. But I was able to capture a clearer picture this time, except for the few thousand that are still wriggling. As a matter of fact, when disturbed Beech Aphids will raise their butts and sway from side to side as a defensive mechanism that has led to this species of Aphids to also be called the "Boogie-Woogie Aphid," which is what they are doing here.
As I've said in previous posts, Beech Aphids produce a sugar-rich excretion/poop, that is also known as a "honeydew exudate." When I found this cluster of Aphids, I was amazed to see how much of their poop was covering the leaves on the ground and if you look close, you can see the sugar crystals glistening in the sun.
I found this Common Eastern Bumble Bee bouncing from Yellow Ironweed (Verbesina alternifolia) blossom to blossom busy filling its pollen sacs before its return trip to the hive. One of its pollen sacs is clearly visible in the picture as the orange mass near its hind quarters, but it had one on each side.
The shape of Common Water Strider's legs and their light weight keep them from breaking through the surface of the water. The ends of their legs are covered with waxy hairs that allow them to use surface tension to stay on top of and propel themselves across the water. When in full sun, the effect on the surface of the water from their legs creates a shadow on the bottom of the stream bed, which is clearly visible for these two specimens.
Even though Asiatic Dayflowers are not native to our area, I do think they are pretty little flowers. And it's interesting to me that their blossoms only last one day, hence the "dayflower" part of their name. I typically only find one or two Asiatic Dayflowers scattered about, so I was excited to find these two that were piggy backed.