One Beautiful Canuck

Now is the time to go explore for a particularly showy native wildflower –

Canada Lily – orange bloom (may sometimes appear more reddish orange)

Canada Lily – yellow bloom

I have observed them at these local destinations:

  1. Anchor Diamond Park at Hawkwood
  2. Ann Lee Pond Nature and Historic Preserve
  3. Ballston Creek Preserve
  4. Bauer Environmental Park
  5. Community Connector Trail
  6. Dwaas Kill Nature Preserve
  7. Hayes Nature Park
  8. Shenantaha Creek Park
  9. Summer Hill Natural Area
  10. Town Park
  11. Ushers Road State Forest
  12. Veterans Bike Path
  13. Veterans Memorial Park
  14. Vischer Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve
  15. Woodcock Preserve
  16. Zim Smith Trail

Sometimes you’ll find a whorl of blooms, resembling a candelabra.

In the past, I have seen these remarkable plants at Vischer Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve achieve especially tall height.

Canada Lily nearly ten feet tall!

Other times, I’ve also observed specimens at Vischer Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve that feature multiple blooms in a couple of tiers such that it resembles a chandelier.

Canada Lily

Happy trails!



While continuing my wildflower inventory today at Vischer Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve in the Town of Clifton Park, I noticed several Pale Jewelweed beginning to bloom.

Pale Jewelweed

I had noticed some of the first Spotted Jewelweed blooms nearly two weeks ago.

Spotted Jewelweed

The different dates for when these two species begin blooming and the different colors of their blooms aren’t the only differences between these two common wetland plants.  Another pretty reliable characteristic (but no always foolproof) is the number of teeth that appear along either side of a leaf’s margin.  Pale Jewelweed typically have more than ten (see photo immediately below) while Spotted Jewelweed typically has less than ten.  For the latter, take a closer look at the leaves in the photo immediately above.

Leaf of Pale Jewelweed – typically > 10 teeth per side of leaf

The stem of jewelweed is succulent, hollow, and usually reddish at the joints.  Indeed, the large lower joint (note one of these in the lower left portion of the photo above of Spotted Jewelweed) is a key characteristic to help identify these plants when you come across their stems in late fall or even winter.

Jewelweeds are of special value to our most abundant large bee species, the Common Eastern Bumblebee.  However, these plants also attract butterflies, but they are especially adapted to visitations from Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds.

Native Americans used the mucilaginous sap medicinally, applied topically to relieve itching and pain from hives, poison ivy, stinging nettle, and other skin problems.  Therefore, crush a handful of either species and rub it over your skin the next time you brush up against any of the species of nettles.  Thankfully, jewelweeds and nettles routinely share the same habitat, so having quick access to relief to douse that flaming skin sensation of nettles is reassuring!

Since jewelweed plants are only available for a few months each year, I suggest that you grind some up in a blender and put it in an ice-cube tray, and have some ice-cubed jewelweed handy to rub on rashes or irritations at other times of the year.

If you wish to try to establish jewelweed in your garden, view this article.

Happy trails!


Red, White and Blue

Happy Birthday, America!

Here’s to the Red, White and Blue –

Cardinal Flower:  Watch for this native blooming beauty beginning the last week of July at any of these local destinations: (1) Anchor Diamond Park at Hawkwood, (2) Shenantaha Creek Park, (3) Summer Hill Natural Area, or (4) Town Park.

Foxglove Beardtongue: You can find this common native blooming beauty beginning mid-June at any of these local destinations: (1) Garnsey Park, (2) Historic Champlain Canalway Trail, (3) Mohawk Landing Nature Preserve, (4) Settlers Hill Natural Area, (5) Summer Hill Natural Area, (6) Town Park, (7) Ushers Road State Forest, (8) Veterans Bike Path, (9) Veterans Memorial Park, (10) Vischer Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve, (11) Woodcock Preserve, or (12) Zim Smith Trail.

Great Lobelia: You can find this native blooming beauty beginning in early August at any of these local destinations: (1) 100 Acre Wood, (2) Ashford Glen Preserve, (3) Bauer Environmental Park, (4) Historic Champlain Canalway Trail, (5) Summer Hill Natural Area, (6) Town Park, (7) Ushers Road State Forest, (8) Veterans Bike Path, (9) Veterans Memorial Park, or (10) Zim Smith Trail.

Wishing everyone a fun, safe and relaxing Fourth of July!

View a schedule of area fireworks displays.

Tidy in White

Today’s sunshine motivated me to undertake an overhaul of my wildflower field guide for the Vischer Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve. As one of my first compilations, I know it contains some errors and is in need of updated scientific names. Further, the establishment of the Community Connector Trail (which runs through the preserve and for which I’ve already compiled its own wildflower guide) and an updated trail map of this preserve (which was prepared last year by Chris Nafis) are more substantive reasons to undertake this revision. So, I began my updated inventory along the 1825 Erie Canal Towpath Trail (shown in red on the aforementioned map).

While tallying the various species I observed today, I noted a definite theme.  Most of the blooms were white…and tidy.

Oxeye Daisy

White Clover

Prostrate Knotweed

Canada Anemone



Gray Dogwood


Happy trails!

Summertime is here!

Summer Solstice 2019 will occur tomorrow.

With the extended daylight that the summer solstice brings, it offers the best opportunity of each year to get out and enjoy the outdoors.

Community Connector Trail

Observe nature at a local preserve. Listen to the calls and songs of birds in your backyard. Go fishing. Forage for some wild edibles. Take a tour of any of the area bike trails.

Great Blue Heron – Mohawk River at Mohawk Landing Nature Preserve

To fill those longer days (and a few nights – see below) with outdoor activities, consider these upcoming events:

National Pollinator Week: Flowers of the Solstice (June 21 @ 7pm)

Wetland Hike (June 22 @ 9am)

Nature Photography Walk at Thacher State Park (June 23 @ 10am)

Woodland Wildflowers – 100 Acre Wood (June 26 @ 5:30pm)

The Multiple Helderberg Escarpments at Thacher State Park (June 29 @ 9am)

Guided Walk: The Wild Turkey Trail (June 29 @ 10am)

Inde”pond”ence Day at Woodlawn Preserve (July 4 @ 11am)

Karner Blue Butterfly Walk (July 6 @ 11am)

Discover the Pine Bush: Focus on Invasive Species (July 7 @ 1pm)

Invasive Species ID – Fox Preserve (July 12 @ 9am)

Guided Butterfly Walk (July 13 @ 9:30am)

Karner Blue Butterfly Walk (July 13 @ 11am)

Woodland Wildflowers – Dwaas Kill Nature Preserve (July 16 @ 5:30pm)

Dragonfly and Damselfly Hike (July 21 @ 1pm)

Moth Exploration of the Albany Pine Bush (July 23 @ 8:30pm)

Woodland Wildflowers – 100 Acre Wood (July 24 @ 5:30pm)

Wildflower Stroll (July 27 @ 2pm)

Birdwatching at Peebles Island State Park (August 11 @ 8:30am)

Moonlight Paddle (August 16 @ 8pm)

Woodland Wildflowers – Dwaas Kill Nature Preserve (August 20 @ 5:30pm)

Woodland Wildflowers – 100 Acre Wood (August 28 @ 5:30pm)

Birdwatching at Huyck Preserve/Myosotis Lake (August 31 @ 8am)

Birdwatching at Albany Rural Cemetery (September 7 @ 7:30am)

Hawk Watching and Songbirds at Thacher State Park (September 14 @ 9:30am)

Moonlight Paddle (September 14 @ 7:30pm)

Happy trails!

Spring Wildflower Sampler

During my past couple of visits to the West Sky Natural Area while conducting my ongoing wildflower inventory, I observed these blooming beauties –

Common Blue-eyed Grass
Blunt-leaved Sandwort
Large Blue Flag
Common Cinquefoil
Yellow Wood Sorrel
Common Blackberry
Thyme-leaved Speedwell
Mouse-ear Chickweed
Field Hawkweed
Tall Buttercup
Common Speedwell
Wild Peppergrass
Indian Cucumber Root
Black Medick
White Clover
Philadelphia Fleabane
Bulbous Buttercup – NOTE: The only Buttercup with downward pointing sepals.
Bristly Dewberry
Slender Vetch
Multi-flora Rose

View the current status of my wildflower inventories.

Happy trails!

Early Season Spring Wildflowers

Unfortunately, this spring has had surprisingly few sunny days and, earlier, we continued to experience cold nights (many with freezing overnight temperatures). Together, those weather attributes have affected when our early season spring wildflowers have begun blooming and whether, on any given day, the blooms would actually fully open to enable us to view their beauty. Because of this, I have personally taken very few photos so far and have published very few posts here. Therefore, the following photos were taken in the past, but better represent what was observed on the two series of ephemeral spring wildflower walks that I conducted earlier this spring. Below, I’ve summarized what we observed at each of the two destinations: (1) Shenantaha Creek Park, and (2) Steinmetz Woods (AKA 41 acres along the Mohawk River).

Shenantaha Creek Park (25 species)

American Fly Honeysuckle

Barren Strawberry

Canadian Wild Ginger

Common Blue Violet

Common Shadbush

Cut-leaved Toothwort (ephemeral)

Dutchman’s Breeches (ephemeral)

Early Blue Cohosh

Early Meadow Rue



Long-spurred Violet

Marsh Blue Violet

Northern Jack-in-the-pulpit

Plantain-leaved Pussytoes

Red Baneberry

Round-lobed Hepatica

Sessile-leaved Bellwort

Sharp-lobed Hepatica

Small-flowered Crowfoot

Smaller Pussytoes

Smooth Yellow Violet

Trout Lily (ephemeral)

Wake Robin

Wild Strawberry

Steinmetz Woods (26 species)

Beaked Hazelnut


Carolina Spring Beauty (ephemeral)


Common Blue Violet

Common Shadbush

Cut-leaved Toothwort (ephemeral)

Dog Violet

Downy Yellow Violet

Early Low Blueberry

Early Meadow Rue

Garlic Mustard

Golden Alexanders


Long-spurred Violet

Plantain-leaved Pussytoes

Red Maple

Round-lobed Hepatica

Sharp-lobed Hepatica

Small-flowered Crowfoot

Smaller Pussytoes

Smooth Rock Cress


Thyme-leaved Speedwell

Trout Lily (ephemeral)

Woodland Strawberry

Happy trails!