Three Views

Less than a month ago, leaves were still green.  Now half of them have fallen. Recent heavy rain for a day throughout the Potomac River basin has left the river high, brown, and moving fast. Don’t forget to visit the Three Views page to see how things change month-by-month.

By the way the yellow leaves in the foreground of the first picture belong to spicebush (Lindera benzoin).

October 30
60 F at 11:36 am; mostly sunny and breezy


11:47 am EDT  24mm  f/9.0  1/800sec  ISO 200

Billy Goat B trail, east end, looking southeast across a narrow channel toward Vaso Island


12:02 pm EDT  27mm  f/9.0  1/640sec  ISO 200

Billy Goat B, mid-way between trailheads, looking upstream (more or less northwest) with Hermit Island on the left.


12:35 pm EDT  24mm  f/8.0  1/1000sec  ISO 200

boat launch ramp near Old Angers Inn, looking downstream and more or less south



aka white goldenrod
Solidago bicolor

This is one of only two species of Solidago that isn’t golden, though if you look closely you’ll see that the disk flowers are often pale yellow while the rays are white.

Confusingly, the other white flowering species is called upland white aster, but despite the common name is actually a goldenrod, Solidago ptarmicoides.

Silverrod is a plant of the eastern US and Canada that ranges as far west as Missouri, Quebec in the north, and south to the Gulf Coast (but not Florida).  It’s a low-grower, seldom exceeding two feet, and prefers drier soils in open woodlands.

I never have managed to get a really good picture of it, for some reason.


Pearl Crescent


pearl cresecent
Phyciodes tharos

The pearl crescent is a common small butterfly in the brush-foot family. They produce several broods each year; the adults can be seen flying in Maryland from early May to November. They range from the Rocky Mountains east in the US, southern Canada, and northern Mexico.

Caterpillar host plants include a large number of aster (Symphyotrichum) species. Adults feed on plants in the dogbane, aster, and mustard families (Apocynaceae, Asteraceae, and Brassicaceae).

Like many butterflies, especially brush-foots, they’re often found near puddles. The one pictured here was one of about a dozen flitting about the mud on the banks of the Potomac River one morning in mid-October. The deep depressions to the left and bottom of the picture are dogs’ pawprints.

For more information have a look at
Maryland Butterflies
Butterflies and Moths of North America
Mass Audobon

Photo Contest

Since I couldn’t post these all on Facebook, I’m posting them here for my friends to vote on.  Please pick your top three to help me decide which ones to enter in the contest.  Either comment here or via facebook/message. (People I don’t know, you can vote, too, and thanks!)

Fiji Sunset 1

Fiji Sunset 2

Clearing Storm Over Sandspit, Fiji

Sandspit Picnic, Fiji

Smithsonian Castle Reflected

Sunset, The Bubbles and Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park

Sunset, Ship Harbor, Acadia National Park

Sunrise, Acadia National Park

Trees in Morning Fog, Bar Harbor, Maine

On a Cobblestone Beach, Acadia National Park

Linear Leaf


stiff aster, aka flax-leaf aster
Ionactis linariifolia
formerly Aster linariifolius


After all the mucking about trying to identify various Symphyotrichums [see previous post], it was a relief to find this small stand of plants.  The very long, narrow, one-veined leaves on often-unbranched plants and the terminal inflorescence made for easy identification.


This eastern species ranges from Texas northeasterward to Minnesota, and further north and east into Quebec and New Brunswick.  It’s threatened in Iowa.

Four other species of Ionactis occur in North America, but they’re all found west of the Rocky Mountains.