Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fringed Gentian and Another Monarch

We kept exploring up the shoreline around French Harbour and Little Pine Tree Harbour, and did find one more small spot of public access.  Even though it was small, it had some interesting plants.

This is pretty typical west shoreline on the Bruce Peninsula, broken rocks lying on the flat bedrock, and a few struggling plants at the water's edge.  A very flat landscape in the distance.

The water is mostly shallow, but there can be deeper pockets in the bedrock, perhaps carved out by winter ice, like the dark patch here.

Immediately behind, looking inland, the sand has accumulated over the bedrock.  There's a zone of shrubs (mostly Shrubby Cinquefoil) on the open sand, and then the Cedar trees begin.

And there, right on the sand there was another Monarch fluttering around.

And it sat still while I got quite a clear shot of it.  I wonder what mineral it was picking up from the sand?

But the best find was a Fringed Gentian, a beautiful blue September flower along this shoreline.

It was my mother who first brought me up here and took me exploring in 1962.  We joined some botanists on a walk and I've been hooked ever since.  These flowers were blowing in the breeze; it took a careful balance of speed and aperture to get it clear!

Further in, amongst the Cedars, Creeping Juniper covers the ground, and at the edge of the plants on the sand, you can actually see its tendrils creeping.  This is 'Juniperus horizontalis', a Latin name I always thought was particularly appropriate.

There was also a patch of Ant Lion traps.  They back down the holes, throwing out sand to create an unstable little crater, and lurk in the sand below to catch unwary ants.

There were several other interesting plants around, including Harebell, Yellow Lady's Slippers, and False Solomon's Seal, but they had all gone to seed like this orchid.  I'm not sure what it is, but it hints at more interesting botanizing next spring.  It may be the Long-bracted Orchis, Habenaria viridis, but only seeing it in bloom will tell.


  1. Those fringed gentians certainly are beautiful flowers. Looks like a botanically interesting area to explore.

  2. The Monarch photo is so good of it drinking something from the sand. I always enjoy seeing their intriguing black bodies with the white spots like the edges of their wings. Such cool design. The fringed Gentians are amazing, I admire your photographic skills.

  3. The first time I saw any gentians was in the foothills of the Pyrenees. I was in the company of a fine photographer and botanists who had stretched himself on the ground to photograph a small cluster of gentians. In order to get the narrow depth of field he required he was some distance from the flowers and using a telephoto lens. Just as he was about to release the shutter one of our group inadvertently stepped the little flowers. The photographer's reaction was unforgettable: in one movement he leapt to his feet and commenced jumping up and down shouting "Bloody Philistine!" at the top of his voice!

  4. Lovely photos and post . Looks like a good day there you had , Pretty area ! Thanks for sharing . Have a good day !

  5. You captured that fringed gentian perfectly. I am glad you didn't have the same unlucky experience that John related in the post above. It's a beautiful place you found so long ago, and now you must return in the spring to show us what that last orchid is! :-)

  6. the details can be so fun
    and interesting.

  7. Hello, I love the pretty September flowers. And great sighting of the Monarch. Pretty views of the water, lovely collection of images. Enjoy your day!

  8. Quite a wild looking area. The monarch stands out well!

  9. The great lakes are big enough to be inland seas, except for the fresh water. Must be an interesting place to paddle as long as the wind doesn't come up. - Margy

  10. What a wonderful place for a walk! I love the color of that fringed gentian. And the monarch! I haven't seen one this year down in these parts. But still hoping.