Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Mud Pond Meander

Last Saturday was gray and a little chilly, but that meant I would have the trails around Mud Pond at Moreau Lake State Park mostly to myself, despite it being the weekend.

I was struck by how low the water has fallen, compared to a year ago.  If not for the channels beavers had dug leading into their bank-side burrows, I could have walked all around the pond down on the flat areas next to the water.

One beaver lodge remains out in the water, and it looks as if a pair of Canada Geese might be turning it into a nesting site once more.

I was eager to see if the masses of Trailing Arbutus were filling the entire steeply pitched south bank of the pond, as they had a year ago.  There were not so many this year, I discovered.  But still a good number of plants adorned the slope, all in beautiful bloom.  Some of the flower were white:

And some of the flowers were pink:

Because the water in the pond was so low, I could walk below the steep bank and lean over to breathe in the marvelous fragrance of arbutus flowers blooming right at face level.

I continued around the pond, remaining close to the shore but moving up into the woods, where the pearlescent downy buds of Striped Maple glowed like candle flames in the dim light.

Red Maple saplings held exploding tufts of red-touched spring-green leaves at the ends of each twig.

Some of the more-mature Red Maples held cascading clusters of female flowers, where pairs of scarlet winged seeds were just beginning to emerge.

In a low swampy section where a creek empties into the pond, I found many hooded clusters of unfurling Cinnamon Ferns.

If I looked really close among the dead leaves, I found the tiny reddish fiddleheads of unfurling Sensitive Fern.

A mass of greenery in the damp woods along the creek invited me to investigate, and that's where I saw the tight purple flower buds of Golden Ragwort atop tall stalks holding fern-like green leaves. The deeply lobed stem leaves of Golden Ragwort look very different from the simple, heart-shaped, and bluntly toothed basal leaves.

Following the creek bed back to the main trail that circles Mud Pond, I saw many tufts of the fine-cut leaves of Dutchman's Breeches, but only a few plants held flowers as yet, and those flowers were still rather greenish, instead of the sparkling white they will turn when fully mature.  This wildflower's show has only just begun!


Auntie Beak said...

Love your photos! What are you using for a camera?

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Auntie Beak, thanks for your kind comment. My camera is a Canon Powershot G16.

threecollie said...

My grandmother loved trailing arbutus. She and my grandfather grew many wildflowers in their yard. (In those days it was not considered taboo to move wild things to tame places.) All are gone now as later buyers tore down their house, cleared out their gardens and put in lawn. I don't drive by much any more. They also protected wild plants at their camp in the Adirondacks, which I later bought from them and recently passed along to my younger brother. I wonder if the pinksters and arbutus still flourish there along with the ladies slippers.
On another note, I can't believe how low the Mohawk is this spring too. Miles and miles of gravel bars, and not even much in the way of mud flats.

The Furry Gnome said...

I've never seen Trailing Arbutus, but I've seen the trees and ferns.