Watch Where You Go

A western wood lily and I shared a river bank yesterday. Me, dangling boots over the edge. She, tipped up to the sun.

After a moment I realized we weren’t alone. A northern pearl crescent had joined us. But it misjudged the descent. Instead of landing on the lily, it landed in the lily. Oops.

I watched it circle the bottom, wings flapping but unable to open in tight quarters.

Finally it poked its head between the base of two petals. With more energetic huffing and puffing (or so I imagined), the rest of the body popped out like a wine cork and it fluttered off.

High drama in the afternoon.


Northern pearl crescent butterfly   Phyciodes morpheus
Western wood lily   Lilium philadelphicum

Lady of the Woods

The woods held several surprises yesterday. It saved the best for last.

Trudging home in gumboots and rain gear I ambled along a deer trail. Battery almost gone on the camera. Eyes on the trail for trip-me-ups. Then a flash of bright orange.

In speckled sunlight, between two trees, a single western wood lily.

Sources say this is the most widespread native lily in North America, but they are few and far between in our woods. Each sighting is special.

I squeezed enough juice out of the battery to capture several images. Happy day!

The western wood lily is endangered or threatened in many areas, often through over-picking — it dies since the bulb often comes up with the flower.


Western wood lily   Lilium philadelphicum