A third presentation – on May Day – now offered of Ephemeral Spring Wildflowers – please join me for this online event!

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, and as I’ve previously posted, I am alternatively offering an online presentation for each of the walks about ephemeral spring wildflowers that I had originally scheduled for April 22 and May 6.  Now, I’ve added a third online presentation, this one featuring the ephemeral spring wildflowers at Ballston Creek Preserve.

This additional presentation about ephemeral spring wildflowers (including other spring season wildflowers) will be shown on May Day evening.  So, before you put on your dancing shoes to go round the Maypole, please join me for a colorful viewing of the blooming beauties you can find on display at this and other local nature preserves.

For logon information for these three sessions as well as information about my other upcoming activities, please view my Events page.  Please visit my Events page on a recurring basis for updates (and likely additional changes) to other scheduled activities as we all monitor the rapidly changing conditions associated with this health crisis.

Stay safe and be well.

Sneak peak at ephemeral spring wildflowers

In hopes of finding any ephemeral spring wildflowers choosing to open an early bloom, I decided to return to the unnamed 41-acre property along the Mohawk River that is owned by the Town of Clifton Park to see what may have changed over the past week since my last visit.  The blustery winds were quite gusty atop the bluff along the Mohawk River today, but the short-lived flashes of sunshine intermixed with a periodic snowflake in the air was a good reminder that spring takes its time to arrive.  Still, it was good to be out in nature; essential nourishment for the soul.

Round-lobed Hepatica – these appear to be in full bloom now, in white, pinks and purple

Walking along the pond, I saw and heard a variety of birds, none of whom offered me a pose long enough for me to capture a picture worth sharing here.  They included:  Double-crested Cormorants, Eastern Phoebe, Belted Kingfisher, Mallard, Canada Goose, and, Great Blue Heron.

Join me for a quick virtual walk through this scenic property to view the wildflowers that I happened upon.

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

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!

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

Jack-in-the-pulpit

Leatherwood

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

Bloodroot

Carolina Spring Beauty (ephemeral)

Coltsfoot

Common Blue Violet

Common Shadbush

Cut-leaved Toothwort (ephemeral)

Dog Violet

Downy Yellow Violet

Early Low Blueberry

Early Meadow Rue

Garlic Mustard

Golden Alexanders

Lily-of-the-valley

Long-spurred Violet

Plantain-leaved Pussytoes

Red Maple

Round-lobed Hepatica

Sharp-lobed Hepatica

Small-flowered Crowfoot

Smaller Pussytoes

Smooth Rock Cress

Spicebush

Thyme-leaved Speedwell

Trout Lily (ephemeral)

Woodland Strawberry

Happy trails!

My first bloom of the season!

Skunk Cabbage

Despite the occasional snowflake floating aimlessly through the air today, the intermittent sunshine and patches of snowless forest floor seemed to invite me out for a hike. I decided to visit West Sky Natural Area in the Town of Clifton Park where I am currently conducting a wildflower inventory along its trails. As I began to cross one of the wooden walkways that span a tiny stream in this natural area, I noticed a perfectly round bare spot surrounding a plant (shown above). This unique plant, our native Skunk Cabbage, had cleared that spot all by itself with the intent of getting an early start on the new growing season. Actually, Skunk Cabbage blooms first and then its leaves will emerge about the time that the flowers are withering and the plant sets fruit.

Skunk Cabbage closeup

Skunk Cabbage is able to clear away snow and ice through a process called thermogenesis, or the ability to metabolically generate heat. Temperature elevation in
Skunk Cabbage lasts for approximately two weeks. Skunk Cabbage has an underground stem that stores large quantities of starch. During heat production, starch is translocated to the flower where it is metabolized at a high rate, generating the heat.

I may celebrate my first bloom of the season with some corned beef and cabbage. Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!

Happy trails!

Early Spring Wildflower Sampler – Part 2

This week’s sunny warm days continue to spur a rapid progression of first blooms of an increasing number of wildflowers.  My destination this week was the Community Connector Trail in the Towns of Clifton Park and Halfmoon.

During my strolls over the past two evenings, I observed –

White Clover (white bloom atop a leafless flower stem, unlike that of Alsike Clover, which has not yet begun blooming)

Smaller Pussytoes

Plantain-leaved Pussytoes

Rue Anemone

Long-spurred Violet

Early Meadow Rue – Please note how each bloom resembles a beaded lampshade from the Roaring Twenties.

Common Shadbush

Red Baneberry

American Black Currant

Field Pennycress

Golden Alexanders

Common Winter Cress

Here’s hoping each of you find an opportunity to get out and see any of the blooming beauties now on display and, in doing so, finding your own way to celebrate National Wildflower Week.

Happy trails!