Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Springtime Comes to Spring Run

The paved pathway of Spring Run Trail on the east side of Saratoga Springs
offers easy walking (and terrific bird-watching!) during springtime's mud season.

If it hadn't been so damp, dark, and cold today, I would have been able to post a photo of the third flower of spring to come into bloom.  Oh heck, I'll post it anyway, even if it was closed up tight against the damp dark cold.  At least it was open enough so I could see its bright yellow buttons, strewn like gold coins along the edge of Spring Run Trail here in Saratoga Springs.  Even though it's not a native wildflower, I always love to find Coltsfoot, the first flower of spring that actually looks like a flower!

When the sun comes out again, those tight little blooms will open wide, and the trail will be lined with miniature sunbursts.  As for today, it was not only dark and cold, it also rained a bit.  I was glad to take shelter under a bridge until the shower lightened into little more than a mist.

In addition to the Coltsfoot, I found other splashes of color along the trail, including the bright-yellow branches of small willow trees.

Red Osier Dogwood also added its vivid coloration to the trailside swamp.

Here was another small tree (a willow, I believe) that had the most amazingly colorful branches of green, red, orange, and yellow, and they were also delightfully twisty and curly.  I wonder if this could be the ornamental willow called Curly Willow, escaped to this swamp from somebody's garden.

I puzzled over what this fruit-bearing shrub might be, until I got home and found a matching photo of its fruits and twigs in G. W. D. Symonds's  The Shrub Identification Book.  Another escapee from cultivation, no doubt, since this is Privet, the same shrub that gets trimmed into dense hedges around the garden, while it assumes a much more open pattern when left to its own devices in the wild.

All along the trail, I could see the curvaceous red spathes of Skunk Cabbage protruding from the mud, now opened wide to release this plant's distinctive "fragrance" on the springtime air.

The springtime air was also filled with the songs and calls of birds, who find the stream-side thickets and swamps along the Spring Run Trail very much to their liking.  The loudest of those calls were those of the Red-winged Blackbirds, sounding their shrill "conk-a-REE-ahs"  throughout every cattail stand.  I could hear Robins, too, singing their cheery rain songs.    The birds are convinced it's truly springtime, even if we humans still feel a little doubtful about it.

PS:  My friend Jens Zorn had some fun with my photo of Red Osier, using Photoshop and his own creative gifts to transform it into a Pollock-like action painting.  I just had to share it here:


The Furry Gnome said...

Great path for the mud season! You've inspired me to get out and see what else I can find tomorrow.

Jens Zorn said...

Wonderful look into spring, but I think some people are ripping you off.... (check your email!)

catharus said...

Spring it is!!!

Ron Gamble said...

Since we're "into" early spring flowers, do you have Harbinger-of-Spring (Erigenia bulbosa), a very early spring bloomer, in your area?

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Good luck, Furry, at finding spring flowers up there in Canada. We had freezing rain again last night.

Jens, what you did with my photo of Red Osier is simply amazing. I need to find a way to post it here.

Yes indeed, catharus! Although winter still bullies its way back from time to time.

Ron, I sure wish we had Harbinger-of-Spring, but we're too far north for it. We're also out of range for Snow Trillium, although I have found it naturalized in the wood. But I'm certain it was planted there. Watch for photos on my blog when it blooms.

asita said...

I'm back in the blog world, and it's great as always to see what you show. It seems like you are a bit ahead of Eastern MA this year, but then everything probably is after this winter!

Raining Iguanas said...

This would have been a much better choice for a walk for me today.