Saturday, April 18, 2015

Back to Ballston Creek

On Thursday, I came to the Ballston Creek in Malta with my friends in the Thursday Naturalists, but we spent most of our time that day in the nature preserve on the west side of the road, observing the birds in the heron nesting area.  Today I returned to Malta to explore the creek across the road in the Shenantaha Creek Park.  This is a fine town park with playgrounds and picnic areas, but my favorite part is the woodland trail that follows the creek through beautiful shale gorges.  Shenantaha (meaning "deer water") is the Iroquois name for Ballston Creek, and yes, I can certainly imagine this beautiful woods and waterway being a haven for wild deer.

When we were here two days ago, we found but one or two Bloodroots in bloom, but today, with temperatures reaching the 70s, the wooded areas along the road were carpeted with these beautiful early spring wildflowers.

What a welcome sight!  Is there any flower more beautiful in its elegant simplicity?

I could find no other wildflowers along most of the trail that follows the creek through the woods, but this woods has a beauty all its own, accompanied by the music of the rushing water.

At one point along this trail, a brook tumbles down shale cliffs to enter the creek, and I wonder if this brook is bringing lime enrichment to the surrounding woods.  It's along this brook that we always begin to find such lime-loving plants as Blue Cohosh, which today was beginning to open its deep purple flowers.

It won't be long before the other flowers we find in this woods begin to open their buds.  I found many plants of Red Trillium getting ready to bloom.

A few of the Trout Lilies were also sporting swelling buds.

Patches of Toothwort will bear their pretty pink-tinged white flowers any day now.

Actually, I am delighted to find Red Elder shrubs before they bloom, because their purple-tinged  buds are far more colorful than their clusters of rather homely off-white flowers.

I found dozens of Dutchman's Breeches bearing buds on flower stalks, a few of which were already turning from pale green to iridescent white tipped with yellow.

I remembered from former visits a spectacular patch of woods just teeming with Hepaticas.  Sure enough, there they were, right where I remembered them, abundantly blooming in many different shades of lavender and white.

In among all those shades of pale blues and purples, this Hepatica, with its radiant pink blooms, certainly stood out.


Uta said...

How beautiful your pictures are,isn't spring wonderful?

The Furry Gnome said...

Wonderful promises in the woods!

Woody Meristem said...

Ah, Spring!

catharus said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely!

ani said...

Delightful to see all these signs of spring. A great reminder to keep our eyes open to the world around us.