Sunday, May 23, 2010

Nature Walk at Bog Meadow

It was my birthday yesterday, and what better way to spend it than leading a nature walk along Bog Meadow Trail? We had a nice bunch of folks, including several children, my good buddy Sue, and naturalist Ed Miller, who is renowned among wildflower enthusiasts of Saratoga County and beyond. I was really glad to have Ed along, since he has much to teach me and spied a number of plants I might have missed. Here he sits on a shady bench as we rested up for our return to our cars. (I'm afraid that Ed and Sue and I may have got so wrapped up in our botanizing that everyone else had gone home long before.)

One of the great things about having kids along is that they tend to see the critters that we flower nerds often miss. Look at the beautiful snail this young man named Samuel found.

Since I was leading the walk, I couldn't take the time to take many photos, but I did case the trail the day before to locate some of the plants of interest along the trail. Here's a partial list of those I found.

Buckbean, which grows in standing water along the trail. I would have missed this if Sue hadn't called my attention to it.

Clintonia, with yellow-green lilylike flowers that are easy to miss among the general greenery. Another name for this plant is Bluebead Lily, because of the beautiful big blue berries it bears later on.

Common Fleabane, a sweet little daisy-like flower with eyelash-narrow petals. A related plant, Daisy Fleabane, blooms a little later in the summer.

Wild Geranium, also called Cranesbill because of the long beaked seeds that form from the pretty purple blooms.

Mayapple, whose large white flowers will later produce the velvety pale-yellow fruits that are the only non-poisonous part of this plant.

Wool Sower Gall, not a fruit, but a fuzzy pink-polka-dotted growth that is caused by the tiny wasp Callirhytis seminator injecting its eggs into the tissue of oak leaves.

Speaking of insects, I picked a few of these deer ticks off me after spending the morning crawling about in the woods. I hope everybody did a good body check when they got home.

I'm off to Mt. Kisco downstate tomorrow to stay with my grandkids the rest of the week, so I may not be able to post any blogs for a while. But don't give up on me, I'll be back. Maybe I can visit some of the nature preserves of Westchester County. For sure I'll have nature adventures next weekend up in the Adirondacks at Pyramid Lake.


greentangle said...

Happy belated birthday in the great outdoors!

Ellen Rathbone said...

I'm so glad you had takers for your walk (and Happy B'day). I had none for mine. :(

And you (or Sue) found the buckbean! You seemed so disappointed when we didn't see them in bloom on Friday.

That Wool sower gall is beautiful!

Are you sure that isn't a wood/dog tick?

Nellie from Beyond My Garden said...

Thanks for taking me along for your walk. I have not seen buckbean before but now will be on the lookout.

Unknown said...


I hope the rest of your B-day weekend was great!

You lead an excellent hike and I look forward ot more...thanks for the gall i.d.!

I can't tell if that's a female deer tick or a dog tick etiehr from the coloring captured in that photo.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Thanks for your comments, dear friends. My friend Sue gets all the credit for seeing the Buckbean. I saw only the leaves in a place where I had found many blooming stalks in years past. But Sue saw one solitary cluster of blooms way back in the swamp and pointed them out to me. That girl has amazing eyes!

As for the tick: this looked like the photos of Deer Ticks I found on the web, with its black thorax (?) and red abdomen (?). I'm not sure what to call the body parts of a tick. It was about the same size as a grain of Arborio rice.