Summer Wildflower Sampler – Community Connector Trail

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 –

Fringed Loosestrife

Canada Lily (orange variety)

Creeping Bellflower

Pale Umbrellawort

Swamp Milkweed

Enchanter’s Nightshade

White Vervain

White Avens

Common Mullein

Cow Vetch

Red Baneberry berries

Yellow Sweetclover

White Sweetclover

Moneywort (invasive)


Tall Meadow Rue

Blue Vervain

Garden Loosestrife (invasive)


Rough Cinquefoil


Canada Thistle (invasive)

Bull Thistle

American Basswood

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 –

Swamp Rose


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.

Happy trails!


Summer arrives later this week

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

Fawn along Wetland Meadow trail – Woodcock Preserve

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.

Mohawk Towpath Byway history interpretative sign at trailhead parking lot

For more specific suggestions, consider these –

Happy trails!

Spring Wildflower Sampler – Final Installment

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 –


Foxglove Beardtongue

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

Slender Vetch

Gray Dogwood

Wild Parsnip – CAUTION!  Avoid handling this plant; read more.

Lesser Daisy Fleabane

Daisy Fleabane

Horse Nettle

Common Milkweed

Staghorn Sumac

Hop Clover

Hoary Alyssum

Common Elderberry – Edible fruit will ripen around mid-August; read more.

White Avens

Whorled Loosestrife

Sulphur Cinquefoil

Maiden Pink


Smaller Forget-me-nots

Happy trails!

View the expanded page about Fox Preserve

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.

Happy trails!

Wild Strawberries Ripening Now!

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

Happy trails!