Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Battlefield Beauty

On a gorgeous blue-sky day last week, I took a short walk at the Saratoga National Historic Park, just to get outdoors for an hour or so.  This park commemorates the Revolutionary War battle in which the Americans roundly defeated the British and signaled a turning point in that war.  What were open farm fields back in the 18th Century are still kept open as expansive meadows, and a hilltop vista offers views of these meadows that extend all the way to the Hudson River Valley, beyond which the Green Mountains of Vermont can be seen rising in the distance.

The meadow plants were more muted in color this year than I've seen them in years past, but the trees were magnificently multi-colored.

This stand of Quaking Aspen shimmered against the deep blue of the sky, the leaves set a-tremble by the brisk breeze.

Although the trailside Gray Dogwood shrubs had already dropped their leaves and shed their white berries, the persistent pedicels were as brilliantly red as ever.

I did find a few flowers valiantly holding on.  This bumble bee must have been happy to still find a source of nectar and pollen as it busily foraged the deep-purple blooms of a solitary New England Aster.

The abundant yellow blooms of some of the goldenrods still attracted many insect visitors, including this pollen-eating wasp.

Even though this little weed called Common Groundsel was already producing seed puffs, it still put forth a number of flowers, short tufts of yellow stamens and pistils tightly wrapped within green bracts.

Pokeweed had reached its peak of beauty, with blue-black shiny berries strung in clusters on hot-pink pedicels. The Saratoga Battlefield is famous for attracting birds to its forests and fields, and pokeberries are one of the fruits that attracts them there.  Humans cannot eat them, although we may certainly feast our eyes on them!

We humans could eat the apples from ancient trees that attest to the farms and orchards that once occupied these fields, but usually the many deer that find refuge here have consumed all the ones within reach.  I had to use my camera's zoom to approach these apples still clinging to the treetops.

1 comment:

The Furry Gnome said...

Those Aspen are amazing!