Sunday, June 12, 2016

Bloom Time

As per the cliche, it seems that May is when I notice things blooming in these here parts.

And this is one of the blooms that is hard to miss. Especially when the field you are in has been severely mowed, as was the case here.

It is Turkey Beard, Xerophyllum asphodeloides, and as Boyd* notes, it is "frequent to common in low sandy pinelands". I spotted these on Lakehurst Naval Air Station.

The flowers are ephemeral. The grass like base is persistent throughout the year. Lucky for it the base is low to the ground.


I do grassland bird surveys at the Lakehurst NAS as part of a NJ Audubon Society citizen science project. And the reason that the Turkey Beard stands out so is that the fields that I survey, as well as those of several other surveyors, was severely mowed this 'winter' (scare quotes because it sure didn't seem like there had been several months worth of growth since the end of winter).

Here are three shots showing what is supposed to be grassland habitat.

I usually have multiple Grasshopper Sparrows calling at my ten survey points. The morning I took these shots I had but one bird singing.

Very sad. And so unnecessary.


* Howard P. Boyd, Wildflowers of the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. A wonderful little book.

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