A Slow Start

by Carl Strang

My first stop in my targeted search for new singing insect species was West DuPage Woods Forest Preserve. Two habitat units there are fens, and I had hopes of finding meadow katydids and ground crickets I haven’t seen elsewhere. A fen is a wetland at the base of a hill where there is a spring or seeping water with high pH, and often is a place where specialized plants and animals can be found. I didn’t find any new insects, but botanically the places were interesting.

This area had a lot of cattails, but between those were diverse other species. In the center of the above photo was a striking goldenrod I didn’t remember seeing before. The clusters of flowers were a little oversized, yet had fewer flowers in each than most goldenrods.

The leaves were wide, and the lowest were relatively huge, at least 8 inches long by 3 wide.

This is the swamp goldenrod, a species typical of fens and some swamps in northeast Illinois.

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