Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Here and There on a Gorgeous Spring Day

Oh man, days just don't come any lovelier than it was today! And doesn't this view of a blue, blue sky through the pink-and-white blooms of an Apple tree just epitomize the perfection of a day like today? These Apples grow in a sunny clearing of the Skidmore Woods, where I went this morning to plan my route for a wildflower walk I'm leading there Saturday morning. (Nine A.M., meet on North Broadway where the pavement turns to dirt. Y'all come!)

I hope the folks who come on the walk won't be too disappointed because the first spring ephemerals have faded. Bloodroot, Trout Lily, Hepatica -- now all gone, or mostly so. But the Large White Trillium is in its glory, violets of many kinds are burgeoning, and Columbine is ablaze. Maybe we'll even have some fern aficionados, which would be great, since the Skidmore Woods with its limestone substrate contains a marvelous collection of these lime-lovers. I just hope nobody expects me to know the names of all the ferns. This dainty little duo, for example. Is it maybe one of the Wood Ferns? I confess I do not know. But I do know I was smitten by its beauty.

At least I know the names of most of the flowers. This, for example, is Toothwort. Kind of a homely sounding name for such a pretty flower.

It's been a good week for snakes. Usually, they slither away so fast I can't snap their photo, but twice this week a Garter Snake has seemed as curious about me as I was delighted to see it. Thanks, little snake, for holding this curvaceous pose.

After planning my route through the Skidmore Woods, the day was still young, so I headed next to Bog Meadow Trail just east of town. There, I discovered I'd missed the flowering time of this Hairy Wood Rush, but I did recognize the plant by its spent flower heads and its general hairiness.

Yes, I know it's not such a showy plant, but until I reported finding it last spring, there had been no record of its existence in Saratoga County. And now there is.

Another plant that is quite uncommon in the county is Nodding Trillium (Trillium cernuum), which does grow, if sparsely, along Bog Meadow Trail. I felt a little excitement when I first spotted this nodding white flower, but something tells me that this is a white variety of the much more common Red Trillium. The petals are not as reflexed as those of T. cernuum are, and the flower seems just too big. I'll have to come back in a week or so to see if I can find others to compare it with.

Sometimes leaves are as pretty as flowers, such as these deep-red velvet baby oak leaves.

Highbush Blueberries were dangling their pixie-capped bells along the trail.

Wood Anemone was spangling the shady woods with their pristine white blooms.

Ah, here's the promise of fruit to come: the pretty yellow flower clusters of Wild Black Currant.

Such a truly dazzling day! These Panicled Dogwood leaves with the sunlight shining through make the branches look as if they were tipped with flames.

Back home again, this White-crowned Sparrow paid us an unexpected visit to our backyard birdfeeder. He stopped by in the early evening, while we were eating supper. What a nice treat to close such a beautiful day!

No comments: