Wednesday, January 21, 2015

November 2014 - Van Buren County and Barry County Adventures


This post will include places I visited November 2014.  I really wanted to do a post with pictures of colorful wildflowers, maybe the next post.  This post doesn't have pretty wildflowers (or does it?) because in Michigan the wildflowers are not blooming in November.  Actually we had record snowfall in November, then December was mild with little snow.  
 
So back to November.  Marie and I made the trip (80 miles one way) to Hamilton Township Coastal Plain Marsh in Van Buren County, owned by the Michigan Nature Association. 
 Hamilton Coastal Plain Marsh November 3, 2014  and below the same place October 1, 2012.  In the picture below the bright red trees are Tupelo.  What a difference a month (and two years) can make.
  "A Coastal plain marsh is a grass-, spike-rush-, and rush-dominated wetland community that contains numerous plant disjuncts from the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains. The community occurs in depressions on sand deposits associated with postglacial lakes and outwash channels in western Lower Michigan, northern Indiana, northern and central Wisconsin, and the southeastern Georgian Bay region of Ontario."

So some plants that are generally found near the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains are growing here in Michigan, which of course, is not even near the Atlantic or Gulf coasts.  A few of these plants are "bald-rush, tall beak-rush, tooth-cup, false pimpernel, seed box, many-fruited loosestrife, and meadow beauty. Most exciting of all, the warty panic grass, thought to be extinct in Michigan, was found here in 1988 when drought conditions exposed the marsh bottom".  That is quoted from the MNA site.  I have never been excited by warty panic grass.
This was November so nothing was blooming except for a few asters, but we did find the dry seed pods from Meadow Beauty.  Below is a blooming Meadow Beauty from August 2014 in Ottawa County.

 
Also in November we see fewer insects than in the warm months but I did catch this dragonfly resting on a leaf.  We had a great walk around the marsh, which was very dry.  Then through the upland woods where the trail leads you between some great trees.

We also visited Van Buren State Park, which is about 32 miles north and west of Hamilton Township Coastal Plain Marsh.

Van Buren State Park is situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, and has one mile of sandy beach and high dune formations.  It is located three miles south of South Haven, and has 220 camp sites.

Just north of Van Buren State Park is North Point Conservation Area, owned by Van Buren County. It has 17 acres and 330 feet of scenic Lake Michigan beach, forested critical dunes, and wetlands.  "North Point Park is also commonly known as the "Old Boy Scout Camp," as this area has been used and maintained by Boy Scouts from Southwest Michigan for many generations. Many Boy Scouts have had Eagle Scout Projects focusing on various facets of the site. Such projects have included the planting of hundreds of indigenous trees, maintaining trails and installing erosion control measures."
North Point Conservation Area is often referred to as the "old Boy Scout Camp," because the property has been utilized and maintained by Boy Scouts in Southwest Michigan for generations. Several Boy Scouts have completed Eagle Scout Projects on the site - projects have included planting hundreds of trees, maintaining trails and installing erosion control measures. - See more at: http://www.vbco.org/north_point.asp#sthash.gSlHc9d1.dpuf
North Point Conservation Area is often referred to as the "old Boy Scout Camp," because the property has been utilized and maintained by Boy Scouts in Southwest Michigan for generations. Several Boy Scouts have completed Eagle Scout Projects on the site - projects have included planting hundreds of trees, maintaining trails and installing erosion control measures. - See more at: http://www.vbco.org/north_point.asp#sthash.gSlHc9d1.dpuf
North Point Conservation Area has approximately 17 acres with 330 feet of beautiful Lake Michigan beach, forested critical dunes, and wetlands. - See more at: http://www.vbco.org/north_point.asp#sthash.K4FgChSX.dpuf
North Point Conservation Area has approximately 17 acres with 330 feet of beautiful Lake Michigan beach, forested critical dunes, and wetlands. - See more at: http://www.vbco.org/north_point.asp#sthash.K4FgChSX.dpuf

After North Point, we drove the 60 miles back to my house, then Marie still has another 33 miles to her house.  We traveled over 170 miles plus another 66 for Marie!  We do get around!
owned by Van Buren County and boasts approximately 17 acres on Lake Michigan. - See more at: http://www.vbco.org/north_point.asp#sthash.K4FgChSX.dpuf
North Point Conservation Area
North Point Conservation Area is owned by Van Buren County and boasts approximately 17 acres on Lake Michigan. - See more at: http://www.vbco.org/north_point.asp#sthash.K4FgChSX.dpuf
North Point Conservation Area is owned by Van Buren County and boasts approximately 17 acres on Lake Michigan. - See more at: http://www.vbco.org/north_point.asp#sthash.K4FgChSX.dpuf
North Point Conservation Area is owned by Van Buren County and boasts approximately 17 acres on Lake Michigan. - See more at: http://www.vbco.org/north_point.asp#sthash.K4FgChSX.dpuf


The next week November 11, 2014 - Marie and I made a trip (about 80 miles one way from Grand Haven) to the Ronald H. Warner Sanctuary (Michigan Audubon) which is approximately five miles southwest of Hastings on Erway Road. "Located in an area of glacial moraines, this sanctuary contains rounded ridges, seasonally flooded ponds, a stream, and lake. Most of the 108 acres is wooded and contains old-growth beech, oak and tulip trees. Large evergreens provide additional woodland habitat. The sanctuary is botanically quite diverse and includes a number of threatened and endangered plants. The sanctuary is adjacent to the Barry State Game Area Global Important Bird Area and is home to Cerulean Warblers."


Ronald H. Warner Sanctuary - the golden trees are larch. Although a conifer, the larch is a  deciduous tree and loses its needles in the autumn.
We found lots of liverwort around the base of the trees in the wettest areas.
Bridge over Glass Creek at Ronald H. Warner Sanctuary near Hastings in Barry County Michigan.  Marie keeps track of how long we visit each place, remember she takes notes.  Sometimes we will be out for an hour or sometimes it can be 6 hours.  I do remember it started to rain as we were heading back to the car.
On the way home we stopped at Patmos Library, a small, rural public library located in southeast Ottawa County, in the township and village of Jamestown, Michigan.  We both enjoy libraries, and had never been to this one before.  Patmos had a good selection of tree and wildflower books.  

For the rest of November we had to cancel our outings due to heavy snowfall and icy  roads.  That doesn't happen often but if schools are closing due to the weather, we usually stay off the roads too.

Next time I'll try to catch up to this year.


 

2 comments:

quietsolopursuits said...

November was a cold and snowy month, but you were ale to find some interesting places that I need to add to my list of places to visit one of these days.

Plants Amaze Me said...

We are very lucky to have so many great places to visit right here in Michigan! We have been to the Warner Sanctuary several times without seeing another person. We often have these places totally to ourselves.
:-)