If I were going to film The Lord of the Rings, I'd start at Shaw Nature Reserve, in Gray Summit, Missouri. For Lothlórien, the enchanted forest where forest elves live in fantastic tree houses, we'd take cameras down the Wildflower Trail. Oaks and hickories give way to pawpaws and ancient sycamores as the trail drops to the Meramec River. Prothonotary Warbler sings in the background. Whole hillsides are covered with dwarf crested iris (Iris cristata). Picture Orlando Bloom running through this scene, bow in hand. Are ya feelin' it?
The St. Louis Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) held a butterfly count here on May 22. I arrived about an hour early to do a little birding. (Birders get up earlier than butterfliers.) Along the border of the woods, a Wood Thrush sang its haunting song. In the meadows I heard several Prairie Warblers, while Barn Swallows and Tree Swallows glided over the lake.
|Juniper Hairstreak, photo by Jeannie Moe (used with permission)|
Yvonne and her group spotted an amazing sight: a Polyphemus Moth was just emerging from its cocoon. Its body and legs appear swollen as it pumps fluid into its wings to expand them. This creature is as fantastic as any in Middle Earth.
|Polyphemus Moth, photo by Yvonne Homeyer (used with permission)|