We've had a whole string of blue-sky spring-warm days, and even though I'm grumpy and fearful about our lack of wintry weather, I have enjoyed being outdoors in relative comfort. Here's just a digest of some of the sites I've visited this past week and a few of the fascinating things I have found there.
Return to the Old Cemetery
In my last post, I described a recent visit not only to the Orra Phelps Nature Preserve in Wilton, but also to an old cemetery adjacent to this preserve. My photos of the various mosses that adorned the cemetery's old stone walls aroused the interest of my moss-loving friends Sue Pierce and Tom Callaghan, so together we returned to this site for further bryological explorations.
Saratoga's Spring Run Trail
Many friends from points further south have been finding Skunk Cabbage plants (Symplocarpus foetidus) already in bloom this over-warm winter, with open spathes and the interior spadices already covered with pollen-producing florets. So of course I had to go investigate our local wetland sites where Skunk Cabbage grows to see if I could find some for myself. One of those sites is the Spring Run Trail right in Saratoga Springs. At the far eastern end of this mile-long trail, a convenient boardwalk crosses an open marsh, leading me directly toward a low swale where Skunk Cabbage thrives.
Graphite Range, Redux
When I last posted a blog about this marvelous new preserve in nearby Wilton, the woods was a fairyland of fluffy snow. When I returned this week with my friends in the Thursday Naturalists, the trees were now bare of snow and the trails were now hard-packed and icy. And now the snow had receded from the steeper banks, allowing us to see what was growing there. My friend Sue alerted us that a most interesting moss was growing at this location.
Bog Meadow Brook Nature Trail
Saturday was the most spring-like day of all this past week, with temps approaching 60 degrees under a mostly clear blue sky (before a late-afternoon downpour). I just had to take a walk under that sky! Choosing the nearby Bog Meadow Brook Nature Trail, I entered it via the eastern Meadowbrook Road trailhead, which led me directly toward a large sun-warmed shrub swamp. What a colorful scene it was, the sedge-tussocks rendered golden in the afternoon light, and abundant numbers of Red Osier shrubs made vivid with scarlet twigs.