A spring season wildflowers (and birds) retrospective

By mid-March, as we all know, our lives rather abruptly and fundamentally changed – or, at least our daily routines certainly did. Never before, when pondering which destination I wanted to explore, have I had to consider the likelihood of encountering too many trail users or other wildflower enthusiasts such that I might get within six feet of said fellow outdoor nature observer. Now it was imperative that I do so.

So, I intentionally selected a destination that is rarely visited by others and I began to make brief videos of my nearly weekly visits to the unnamed 41-acre property along the Mohawk River that is owned by the Town of Clifton Park. Each visit resulted in a short video. I initially posted the first couple of videos, then I decided to forego any more postings (until this one) and compile all of them as a segmented (and continuing) “virtual hike.” What follows (if you choose to “join me” and click through the video segments listed below) is that virtual hike at this destination, beginning April 4th and concluding May 10th.

If you did not get out to observe this annual unveiling of some of our spring season wildflowers (including ephemeral spring wildflowers), then I hope you’ll take the opportunity – now – to join me on this virtual hike. As you’ll see, I encountered more than just blooming wildflowers. The best part (for you)? No ticks.

April 4: Sneak Peak at Early Spring Wildflowers (5:42)

April 11: Sneak Peak Ephemeral Spring Wildflowers (2:03)

April 25: Ephemeral Spring Wildflowers (7:49)

April 28: Ephemeral Spring Wildflowers-4/28 (13:32)

May 2: Ephemeral Spring Wildflowers-5/2/2020 (12:33)

May 10: Finale-Ephemeral Spring Wildflowers (7:55)

As you are pondering where to take your future hikes this year while we endure this pandemic, please consider the destinations listed in my prior post entitled “Some local trails best suited for social distancing.”

Happy trails!

Sneak Peak: Ephemeral Spring Wildflowers…and an Osprey!

Today’s sunshine beckoned me to go search for spring season wildflowers, particularly ephemeral spring wildflowers.  For my first destination, I chose Ann Lee Pond Nature and Historic Preserve (located in the Town of Colonie) since I will be conducting an online presentation on Wednesday (April 22 @ 5:30pm) on that very topic.  I wanted to see how things are shaping up, given the continuing cold nights that we have been experiencing over the past couple of weeks.

View the first of two parts of my visit today, then watch part two.  (Sorry, but I inadvertently closed the video shortly after its beginning rather than hitting the “pause” button!)

For a better look at the blooms of the species that were mentioned in the video, please view these images (ephemeral spring wildflowers listed in bold italics):

  • Beaked Hazelnut (Please note that this species has finished blooming nearly everywhere by this time.)
  • Dwarf Ginseng (Please note that this species is only in bud stage at this time.)
  • Marsh Marigold
  • Northern White Violet (Please note the rounded leaves; that characteristic and the fact that this species blooms about two weeks earlier than Sweet White Violet are what best set these two species apart from one another.)
  • Red Trillium (Please note that this species is only in bud stage at this time.)

Also mentioned in the video, but blooming next month:

  • Highbush Blueberry (Please note that this species is only beginning to set flower buds at this time.)
  • Pin Cherry (Please note that this species is only beginning to set flower buds at this time.)

Later, I visited the unnamed 41-acre property owned by the Town of Clifton Park that is located along the Mohawk River.  I wanted to make another stop there today to continue observing the unveiling of spring wildflowers that I have been observing at this destination over the past few weeks.  Shortly after arriving, I heard the call of this bird, then spied it sitting on a large limb near the top of an oak tree along the shore of the pond on this property.  The bird is sitting on the large horizontal branch just to the right of the tree near the center of the photo; look for the white cap on its head.

Going a short distance, I then saw a male Wood Duck flying overhead and a pair of Canada geese nesting and resting on the opposite shore.

During my short visit, I found the following in bloom:

I hope you’ll join me Wednesday evening to view many more of the blooming beauties to be found at Ann Lee Nature and Historic Preserve at this time.  Please see my Events page for logon information.

Happy trails!

Sneak peak at early spring wildflowers

Round-lobed Hepatica

Today’s sunshine and low 60s tempted me outside to search for any early spring wildflowers that may have taken advantage of recent rains and warmth (following a very mild “winter”) to emerge, or, better yet, pop open a flower bud.

I headed over to the unnamed 41-acre property along the Mohawk River that is owned by the Town of Clifton Park for a look see.  The sunny skies beckoned the songbirds frequenting this woodland to sing loudly, clearly and often.  Cardinals, Tufted Titmouse, Eastern Phoebe, Red-bellied Woodpecker, and, greeting me upon my arrival, a Barred Owl, were among the voices that stood out most.

Join me for a virtual walk through this scenic property to view the wildflowers that I happened upon.  Please note:  One tick was indeed and most certainly mangled to death during the filming of this video.  You’re welcome.  However, rest assured that this footage, which obviously contained graphic violence and an abundance of adult language, is not included in this video.  Rather, the final video is quite family friendly.  I hope you enjoy it.

For a better focused and more close-up view of each species mentioned in the video, please see these images –

Happy trails!

Another ‘first bloom’ of the season!

Yesterday, I spied this –

Coltsfoot

which, in honor of today being World Poetry Day, I suggest you read this and also this.

And, speaking of poetry, I was inspired to entitle this image “haiku” –

Haiku – late October snow, North Woods Nature Preserve

Happy trails!

Third Bloom of the Season!

Despite the current prolonged spell of cold nights, it was with great optimism today when I chose to head outside for a walk. I decided to explore the West Sky Natural Area in the Town of Clifton Park to continue my wildflower inventory along its trails.

This weekend’s warmer temperatures and longer patches of sunny skies helped to encourage this to bloom in a patch approximately 20 feet long containing scattered individuals.

Coltsfoot

Beaked Hazelnut is now in full bloom along this trail; every shrub is exhibiting open female and male flowers. In addition, Skunk Cabbage is just past the peak of its blooming season. Also, the leaves of several other species have finally begun to emerge, including Broad-leaved Dock, Catchweed Bedstraw, Marsh Marigold, and Pennsylvania Bittercress. Spring has finally begun to exhibit some plant life heralding its arrival.

Happy trails!

First Post-Blizzard Bloom!

Today’s sunshine beckoned me to take a stroll along the Historic Champlain Canalway Trail in the Town of Waterford.  A number of little green leaves have sprouted up over the past week, but my sighting of these blooms gave me the greatest hope that spring is truly on its way.

Coltsfoot

These were the first blooms I’ve seen since the blizzard that deposited nearly a foot-and-a-half of snow on us in mid-March.  Now that virtually all traces of that snow have disappeared and next week’s temperatures may approach 80 degrees a couple of times, you can count on a rapid greening of the landscape to occur with many more plants unfurling their leaves and more blooms to come.  Stay tuned.

Happy trails!