Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Fireweed field, Discovery Park

In one corner of Discovery Park's south meadow is a stretch of fireweed. The pink blooms, in spikes six to seven feet tall attract wild bees galore. I tried, and failed to get a picture of a leaf-cutter bee carrying an actual piece of cut leaf. At least three Anna's hummingbirds and one Rufous hummingbird zipped around. Once in a while one would stop, hover and eat, and then they'd go back to buzzing each other, and doing diving loops.
Meanwhile four species of swallows flitted around and more birds called from nearby trees. And this was at 9:30 a.m., well before fireweed's peak nectar time, which is 1 p.m.

Fireweed is a colonizer of barren places. It's one of the first species to sprout up after a fire or a landslide, and when those busy pollinators are through, and the flours mature, they'll turn into capsules that will burst, each sending hundreds of fluffy seeds into the wind, which will carry them to the next fireweed meadow.

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