Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Riverside Ramble

  A river runs through our Pennsylvania mountains.  A lovely river... the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.  The banks of the river are fun to explore.  Won't you join me on a late-summer riverside ramble?
The riverine setting, along with the unique flora and fauna of the riparian habitat, provides a great place to ramble.  There is so much to see!

I especially enjoy the community flourishing on the shoreline and the low terraces which are periodically exposed during times of low water.
 With a cursory glance, the river bank looks scruffy and overgrown, but personally I think it has a beauty all it's own... rivaling a garden.
   Let's take a look at the plants in this fantastic riverside garden.  My favorite is the Purple Aster... lookin' good there in the foreground (photo above) against the muted lavender of the Joe-pye Weed, the white of the Boneset and the yellow of the Sneezeweed.
Yup, Sneezeweed.
The brilliant red of the Cardinal flower is also there in the mix. 
Cardinal Flowers attract many hummingbirds and swallowtail butterflies.  Here is a photo of a Spicebush Swallowtail as it flutters on a Cardinal Flower. 
Here an Orange Sulfur Butterfly is nectaring on this Boneset.
   The floodplain is bustling with butterflies, beetles, and other buzzing beings.  This insect horde seems to find the riverside garden very attractive, but not all streamside plants benefit these insects.  Some plants "eat" them.  The minute, carnivorous Round-leaf Sundews grow between the stones in the more open areas.  The sundew's leaves are covered with stalked beads of glue which act like flypaper and ensnare insects that make contact.  Upon catching an insect the "tentacles" encircle the insect and digest it.
The Round-leaf Sundews add to the garden's beauty and intrigue with their sparkling jewels of sticky glue.
   Other members of this riverside community are bushes and birches and rushes.
There are sedges and grasses... like this Yellow-eyed Grass.
 Wow! all this... and we've only gone a stone's throw, from the yard to the water's edge.  There's much more thriving on the gravel bars up and down the river.
O boy, don't get me started... it's a long, crooked river.


  1. I think of the children's song.
    "Wide, wide is the ocean. High is the Heaven's above. Deep, deep is the deepest sea - of Our Saviour's love. Though I'm so unworthy - still I'm a child of his care. For his word teaches me that is love reaches me everywhere.

    All of this within a stone's throw...

    And how much more is our Father's LOVE for us. He created this all and in all it's intracies (sp?)- it's vast... and precious... and amazing...and beyond our scope of imagination.

    Thank you, for taking us "around the bend" to see - even, just a glimpse - into Our Father's World.

    So, what's next? water shoes are on... ;)

    1. Bevy,
      Well, with water shoes + some snorkels a remarkable part of Our Father's World becomes visible - the underwater world.
      For instance, have you ever seen Black fly larvae anchored on a rock and bent by the current as they filter feed? How about a caddisfly larva's silken net... ?
      See? Now you've got me started.

  2. Dana, I've got my hiking shoes on. Let's keep walking. I'll do my best to keep up.

    P.S. Like the new (to me) word: riverine.

    1. Sybil,
      OK, if you insist. ; )
      No, really, the riverine landscape could change rapidly if we get dumped with rain. If the present riverine (hmmm there's that word again) vegetation/community is to be appreciated, another riverside ramble is in order.