Despite a forecasted temperature in the mid-90s and an even higher heat index, I opted to stretch my legs today along the Community Connector Trail in the Towns of Clifton Park and Halfmoon. Beginning from the Town of Halfmoon end, I continued my wildflower inventory by covering the eastern half of this trail. I was pleased to discover several species to add to my list and enjoyed seeing a multitude of colorful blooms. Fortunately, the heat has not yet stressed the plants.
Here’s a sample of what I observed –
Canada Lily (orange variety)
Red Baneberry berries
Tall Meadow Rue
Garden Loosestrife (invasive)
Canada Thistle (invasive)
Flowering Rush (invasive)
Canada Lily (yellow variety)
SUPPLEMENTAL UPDATE (7/1/2018): I returned to inventory the western half of this trail and observed these additional blooms –
Spotted Knapweed (invasive)
Please join me Thursday evening, July 12, for a walk to identify invasive species at the Vischer Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve – we will see many of the “invasive” plants noted above during that walk. We’ll begin promptly at 6pm from the parking lot adjacent to the Whipple Bridge at the main entrance to the preserve, located at the intersection of Riverview Road and Van Vranken Road, and then take a short hike through a portion of this preserve, which will go along a segment of the Community Connector Trail. This event is in recognition of New York Invasive Species Awareness Week, July 8-14, 2018. I hope you’ll join me.
With the extended daylight that the summer solstice brings, it offers the best opportunity of each year to get out and enjoy the outdoors.
Driftwood Homesteaders: Cattail and Monkey Flower reside on muddy log along Mohawk River
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.
For more specific suggestions, consider these –
- Flowers of the Solstice (7pm, June 21)
- Family Fun Fishing (10am, June 23)
- School’s Out Hike (10:30am, June 26)
- Karner Blue Butterfly Walks (11am & 4pm, June 27)
- Firefly Full Moon Hike (8:30pm, June 28)
- Watchable Wildlife: Bluebirds (10am, June 30)
- Morning Meander (10am, July 6)
- Karner Blue Butterfly Walk (11am, July 7)
- Invasive Species ID Walk – Vischer Ferry Nature & Historic Preserve (6pm, July 12)
- Invasive Species ID Walk – Fox Preserve (9am, July 13)
- Wildflower Walk along Historic Champlain Canalway Trail (5:30pm, July 17)
- Karner Blue Butterfly Walk (1pm, July 22)
- Drop-in Moth Exploration (8:30pm, July 26)
- Discover the Pine Bush (10:30am, July 28)
- Mushrooms of the Northeast (1pm, August 4)
- Bird Watching at Peebles Island/Cohoes Flats (8am, August 19)
- Counting Common Nighthawks (6pm, August 27)
- Counting Common Nighthawks (6pm, August 28)
- Counting Common Nighthawks (6pm, August 29)
- Learn 10…Wetland Plants (5pm, September 14)
With the days of spring winding down on a beautiful sunny day yesterday, I continued my wildflower inventory at Settlers Hill Natural Area. This trail network is located in the Town of Clifton Park and it is comprised of two different segments –
- East trail: Beginning at Gloucester Street, this trail segment heads south across Clifton Park Center Road, Michelle Drive, Waverly Place, Summerlin Drive and Avenue of the Oaks (twice) before terminating a short distance south of 4 Leaf Manor.
- West trail: Beginning at either access point off Addison Way or Fairhill Road, these two access trails will intersect and then this trail segment heads west across Moe Road before generally heading south and terminating at Wildflower Drive.
Trail users were few and far between except for the resident chipmunks and squirrels. Songs and calls from Wood Thrush (forests), Rose-breasted Grosbeak (forest edges), Pileated Woodpecker (forests), Common Yellowthroat (brushy old fields or thickets along edge of wetlands), Yellow Warbler (open woodland), Northern Cardinal (open woodland), White-breasted Nuthatch (forests), Song Sparrow (open woodland and edges of wetlands), Eastern Towhee (edges of forests, thickets, and old fields), American Goldfinch (open woodland), and Eastern Wood Peewee (woodland) illustrated the varied habits that I strolled through along my route.
This is sampler of what I observed blooming –
You’ll find all three species of Blue-eyed Grasses along this trail network:
Eastern Blue-eyed Grass
Stout Blue-eyed Grass
Common Blue-eyed Grass
Wild Parsnip – CAUTION! Avoid handling this plant; read more.
Lesser Daisy Fleabane
Common Elderberry – Edible fruit will ripen around mid-August; read more.
On a recent visit to continue my wildflower inventory of this preserve, I compiled a number of photographs to capture views along the two trails within Fox Preserve in the Town of Colonie. View the expanded page.
If you have an opportunity to visit this preserve this week, you’ll observe numerous Dame’s Rockets in full bloom (pink and white flowers) throughout the property, but especially along the latter third of the Orange Trail as it passes along and near Shaker Creek.
Stop by this property, owned by the Mohawk-Hudson Land Conservancy, to enjoy a picnic on the preserve’s hilltop overlooking the Mohawk River.
The time is now. Wild strawberries are beginning to ripen and if you want to taste a tiny taste sensation, then wait no more. Best places to look for these itty-bitty crimson jewels are sandy soils in full sunshine followed by other open areas along the edges of woodlands and possibly sunny areas within woodlands. Both the Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana; shown below) and the Woodland Strawberry (Fragaria vesca) commonly grow throughout our area.
Fruit of Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) – leaves are above the blooms/fruits
If you should collect more than a handful, consider these recipes –
Wild Strawberries and Cream
Wild Strawberry Cordial
Wild Strawberry Grog
Wild Strawberry Ice Cream
Wild Strawberry Muffins
Wild Strawberry Pastries
Wild Strawberry Tarts