A gorgeous, sunny warm day at last, but I had too many errands to run today to spend the whole day flower hunting. But darn, these flowers are all coming on so fast, I can hardly keep up with them! So I fit in a couple of stops between the post office, doctor's office, drug store, and supermarket, just to hit the highlights of plants I expected to find at each place.
First stop was the Skidmore woods, where I hoped to find Orange-fruited Horse Gentian (Triosteum aurantiacum) in bloom. And I was not disappointed! The flowers are small, but the plant is large and hard to miss, even though it grows amid a thicket of other green plants:
This Skidmore stop was all I had time for between the post office and doctor's appointment, but after meeting those obligations, I still had time to run up to Mud Pond at Moreau Lake State Park before I had to go to the grocery store. I would have loved to have hours to explore this wonderful park, but I planned my time to include only the power line clearcut that runs just north of the pond, with a quick stop at the pond's edge. I fully expected that I would find American Climbing Bittersweet (Celastrus scandens) in bloom, and I was not disappointed. In fact, the patch where it grows was teeming with many more plants this year than I had ever found there. Most were still in tight bud, but a few had opened the small greenish-yellow flowers that grow in a terminal cluster.
It's actually the number of leaves on the stem (more than 30) that provides the most distinguishing feature of the Green Rock Cress. The small white flowers look pretty much like those of many other wild mustards.
Even though this powerline clearcut is home to quite a number of rare or otherwise interesting native plants, it is also crowded with too many invasive species, such as the Asian species of honeysuckle this Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly is feeding on. Thankfully, though, the honeysuckles have lots of competition from our native American Hazelnuts, Witch Hazel, Bear Oak, and several species of dogwood.
Having located the two rare plants I had hoped to find at this site, I still had time to pop down to the shore of Mud Pond, just to see what might be happening down there at the water's edge. The first thing I noticed was that our beautiful native Blue Flags (Iris versicolor) were in full bloom.
But I shouldn't have been surprised by this explosion of infant toads. Just last year I witnessed when thousands of tadpoles shed their tails, developed legs, and came ashore in droves. I even have a video to prove it, which I posted on this blog just a year ago: https://saratogawoodswaters.blogspot.com/2020/06/thousands-of-tiny-toadlets.html