By Boak Wiesner
Lingering fog has yet to burn off completely as I start around Green Heron pond, lending the scene a rather Impressionistic feel, edges not quite defined, soft. With so much rain these last weeks, there’s little evidence that fall is coming. It looks like June.
I’m curious to check out new things on the west side of the Arb, but I am stopped short by the plethora of hummingbirds scrapping amongst themselves over the little pocket march just west of the education area. I count eight, just in this small area. They’re imbibing the nectar of all the Jewelweed blooming right now. Both of our native species brighten the morning with their sunny colors. The juice in their stems is a well-known remedy for Poison Ivy and nettles. Last night’s rainwater still lingers on their leaves.
Along with the hummers are a couple of Catbirds. They flit among the branches around the marsh. Growing up those branches are a couple of kinds of binding plants. The showy flowers of Hedge Bindweed contrast with their pink the oranges and yellows in the marsh. An invasive exotic, they can take over from native plants.
Jutting out from the tangle of vines are the fruits of Virginia Creeper also give some nice contrasting colors with their red stems and blue fruits. Don’t eat ‘em, though! They contain calcium oxalate, the sharp, pointy crystals of which hurt when they pierce the skin.
Boak Wiesner is a Minnesota Naturalist Volunteer