7.8- 7.13 – Peck Farm

Sorry for the long absence friends, it’s been a busy July!

At the beginning of the month we went to Peck Farm, beautiful agricultural land converted into a prairie and visitor’s center. The prairie was very dense and had beautifully soft soil, unlike some of the Chicago Park District sites, since it used to be tilled land. Pizzo used a different seeding mechanism at this site which may have contributed to the density of the growth, since the seeds were possibly planted less deeply according to Becky. I’m still encountering far fewer worms than I expect to while coring, although perhaps the worms burrow more deeply into the soil during the hot days.

I’ve got a lot of pictures of this site for you, since it’s one of my favorites so far.

Silphium laciniatum (Compass Plant) in bloom

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One of the coolest parts of field work is that I get to see plants at several different stages of life over the course of the summer, from seedlings to blooms! Here’s a blooming compass plant, much taller than I expected, with the characteristic yellow Silphium flower.

Compass Plant flower, detail

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In a similar vein, here’s another plant that we were only identifying by the leaves before:

Ratibida pinnata (Yellow Coneflower)

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A lot of the Solidagos on this site were afflicted with galls, abnormal growths in the plant where insects have laid their eggs.

Solidago canadensis with gall

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A common plant at this site was Sonchus oleraceus, which looks like a very tall dandelion (although they are from different genera.) Unfortunately it’s an invasive 🙁

Sonchus oleraceus (Common Sowthistle)

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We had an absolutely gorgeous day for our second visit to Peck.

Peck Farm, Geneva IL

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And Bob found a bird’s nest lashed securely into a stand of compass plants! Anyone know what they are? Looks like a robin’s egg blue to me but all I saw in the prairie were the dreaded Red-Winged Blackbirds.

Bird’s Nest

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Here’s a false sunflower close-up, so that you can see the disk is made up of little flowers of its own!

Heliopsis helianthoides (False Sunflower)

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And here are three of the five undergrad goofballs that are part of this summer’s Camp Prairie Fun! From left to right: me, Taran, and Bob.

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And one glamor shot of me taken by Evelyn!