A very productive day today: a life orchid and a life bird all in the same trip! :)
A carload of us went to Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area to check out the Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid, Platanthera leucophaea a Federally and State threatened listed plant. And a hauntingly beautiful plant is too. Found hidden among the prairie overgrowth, it would be easy to pass by this scrubby-looking field without a second glance, but that would be a mistake.
This rarity blooms the last week of June or very early July, and this was the second time I have travelled to see it. Several years ago, we planned the trip too late- and the orchids were no longer in bloom. This year we scored big on this unusual orchid with the humongous nectar spur. I would love to see the moth that must pollinate this beauty. It may well be as rare as this wet-meadow orchid.
A bonus American Avocet and Black-necked Stilt made the day quite a bonzer event, and one that won't be soon forgotten!