Hot Summer Days

Since I nearly broke one of my toes while out hiking over the July 4th weekend , I didn't hike for a couple of weeks to allow it to heal.  It's still a little sore, but it is getting better for the most part so I did a couple long hikes last week.  These pictures are from those hikes.

Wild Purple Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) - 
Wild Bergamot is also known as Bee Balm.  This particular variety is Purple Bergamot or Purple Bee Balm and it closely resembles Scarlet Bergamot (aka Scarlet Bee Balm) that I sometimes find in the woods, but is currently in full bloom at the entrance of the park.

Pennsylvania Smartweed (Polygonum pensylvanicum) - 
Pennsylvania Smartweed is one of those "weeds" along the trail that you've probably walked by hundreds of times without even noticing.  But it's delicate pink flower blossoms are quite pretty even though they are very small.

Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus) - 
This is the first time I've photographed a Polyphemus Moth and I have to say I was pretty excited to happen upon it.  Although I believe this specimen was dead because it was laying in a very shallow pocket of water along one of Little Sewickley Creek's many tributaries.  I read that it is one of the largest moths in our area, with wingspans of almost seven inches and while in the caterpillar phase, can eat 85,000 times its body weight.

Old Man of the Woods (Strobilomyces floccopus) - 
Old Man of the Woods has a "wooly" appearance with large greyish-black scales which make it pretty easy to identify.  This is the second time I've had the opportunity to photograph an Old Man of the Woods and in my experience it is not very common.  I found this specimen in my Mother's yard while I was mowing her lawn (I mowed around it and it's still there).

Pale Touch Me Not (Impatiens pallida) - 
Between Spotted and Pale Touch Me Nots, I definitely like the look of the Pale variety more.  The flowers blossoms are so incredibly yellow, they really standout against the green leaves of the plant.  Both species are really abundant right now and suffer greatly from deer predation.

Birds Foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) - 
Birds Foot Trefoil is not native to our area but its tiny yellow blossoms are pretty interesting looking.  They are also part of the Girl Scout's logo.

Spotted Touch Me Nos (Impatiens capensis) - 
Both Spotted and Pal Touch Me Nots derive their name from their been-like seed pods that burst open at the slightest touch.  I've written about them before and I've even posted some photographs of the seed pods after they've sprung open, it really is a interesting and different way to disperse seeds.

White Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) - 
I happened to pass by this deer while it was bedded down in the early afternoon.  I spotted it out of the corner of my eye, so I walked past casually, got my camera ready, then walked back past it to snap a few photos.  I told her that I wasn't a threat and after snapping a few pics, she stayed there as I continued on down the trail.

Heal All (Prunella vulgaris) - 
Heal All is an intersting wildflower.  It is very prevalent throughout our area and is known for its medicinal qualities, hence the name.  There are some commercial growers that sell the dried flower "buds" for making tea, but the I didn't think it tasted very good the couple of times I made the tea.  However, its medicinal qualities have been known for thousands of years and it was heavily used by early cultures.

More Pictures:

Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica

Spotted Touch Me Not (Impatiens capensis

Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus)

Pale Touch Me Not (Impatiens pallida)

Thin-Leaved Sunflower (Helianthus decapetalus)