Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sudden Heat

Wow!  It is HOT today!  Up near 80, I would guess.  Yesterday was nearly as warm, too, which is why I could assure my friend Emily DeBolt that we would find Snow Trillium blooming at Orra Phelps Nature Preserve, if she wanted to meet me there on Monday.  Emily and her husband run the Fiddlehead Creek Farm and Native Plant Nursery in Fort Ann, so she has a deep and wide experience with most wildflowers, but she had never seen this miniature trillium in bloom.  One reason would be that it really doesn't grow around here (its native range being further south and west), and also, it would be easy to miss in the wild, the flowers are so very tiny.  But yesterday, we did find them! Thanks, of course, to naturalist Orra Phelps, who planted these on her property many years ago.

I have promised to bring my friends in the Thursday Naturalists here to see these trilliums on April 20,  ten days from when I took these photos, so I'm glad to see the weather should cool down a bit between now and then, hoping the flowers will not be faded.  I was also glad to see a number of tiny sprouts of new trillium plants coming up, so we should see even more flowers by next week.

Ten more days should also bring us many other wildflowers blooming at Orra Phelps.  We found dozens of Toothwort shoots scattered across the forest floor, most of them laden with buds.

These tight fuzzy buds of Hepatica should also be open by then.

This summer-like warmth has brought out more than the wildflowers, too.  Here was the first Garter Snake I have seen this year.

The Snapping Turtles are also awakened now from their winter slumber under the mud.  I found this big one in the middle of a country road today.  Since the turtle was heading toward a pond, I assumed this was a female returning to water after crossing the road to lay her eggs in the sun-warmed sand on the other side.  Fearful that she would be crushed by a speeding car, I stopped to help her safely toward the pond and out of the road.  I've been told one should always push a turtle in the direction it was heading.

Not such an easy thing to do, especially since she turned to defend herself and to challenge me.

Luckily, I still had in my car the tool I use to push snow off the roof, so I didn't have to risk injury from her strong jaws when she fiercely resisted my efforts to move her.  But I finally did succeed in getting her off the road and safely on the pond's bank.  Do you think this look she's giving me is one of gratitude?  Ha ha!  I really doubt it!


Anonymous said...

What do snapping turtles eat?
What ever they want!

threecollie said...

Nice turtle shots! Sure glad you had that snow tool though. We saw our first turtles yesterday down along the Erie Canal. So nice to see them and there were plenty.