I spent a pretty quiet day for my Birthday this year. Because March has been unusually mild, I decided to play hookey and drove over to the local nature center for the first real hike of the season.
I had heard, via Twitter, that some of the early woodland flowers were in bloom and I wanted to find them.
Because of the mild day, the trails were busier than usual.
This delicate flower is called a Spring Beauty. In order to help the pollinators find the nectar, it is designed with landing strips; bright pink lines leading to the center.
Many of the woodland wildflowers begin to bloom as soon as the snow melts and temperatures begin to inch up. The flowers tend to bloom before the leaves on the tall hardwood trees begin to block the sunlight. Once the leaves sprout, there isn’t enough sunlight to reach the forest floor and the flowers.
There were lots of Dutchman’s Breeches in bud, or perhaps it was Squirrel Corn. Both are from the Dicentra family, related to the bleeding heart flower.. both of the wildflowers look a lot alike.
There were a lot of hepatica blooming. I didn’t see the leaves so I couldn’t say what variety they were.
The trout stream looked a little low, probably because we haven’t had a lot of rain this month. I hope that isn’t a prediction of our weather for the season.
Here is the flower I was hoping to see. Harbinger of Spring, also known as Salt and Pepper it is the first woodland native to bloom when the snow melts. It seems like such a big name for such a little flower.
I put down a dime next to the blooms to show the size. You can see that it is not made up of just one flower, but many little ones. It is very small and not so easy to see if you’re not watching for it.
Moving away from the woods and upstream of the trout stream I head towards one of my favorite areas, the wetlands.
While hiking around the marshy area I saw some Marsh Marigolds, not quite in bloom. With the warmer weather we’ve been having, maybe they’ll pop open this week.
Some really beautiful pussy willows
and bright red dogwood branches to brighten up the brown landscape.
A pair of Canadian Geese visiting what is left of the pond. The Nature Center has been slowly draining this manmade pond and converting it back to the original stream flowing through the wetlands, which has been drying up.