Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hepatica Hill is Blooming!

2011 03 21 First full day of Spring!  We haven't had much warm weather, so we didn't get our hopes up about seeing any wildflowers blooming, other than Skunk Cabbage, of course.

                                                            Secret Swampy Woods

We visited one of our secret swampy areas at the intersection of  M-40 and M-89 in Allegan County.  We stumbled across this place just last year (2010 04 12).  There is no parking area but wide enough shoulders to get safely parked along the road.  It is Allegan State Game Area property so we weren't trespassing, we wouldn't would we.
                                           Skunk Cabbage

Marie did find one pathetic Hepatica blooming here, no picture but YES she found the first blooming wildflower of the year.  We saw so many Skunk Cabbage, and a few new green leaves, maybe violets or saxifrage.

Walking to the west, we also came to Sand Creek and saw two American Woodcock.  We were in this mucky woods for about two hours, every minute was fun!
                            I know this is a bit silly but I circled the Skunk Cabbage in this picture.
                                            Sand Creek

Next we went north to Mark Cassino's "Hepatica Hill".   This Mark has a website (,  a photographer's journal,  that I visit sometimes to get info on what is in bloom to the south of us.  He has many places in the Allegan Forest that he wanders, Hepatica Hill is one of them.  It is a south facing hill along the Kalamazoo River so the mostly Round-lobed Hepatica tend to bloom here earlier than north facing hills, well they would, wouldn't they.

                                    Marie had to stick one of the petals back on this flower
                                     and I might have pressed it gently open with my finger.
And even though our hopes were not up to seeing blooming hepatica... there they were blooming on that cold blustery March day!  Wow!  They were a bit soggy and dirty from the rain the night before, poor sad little things. (I rinsed a few off with water from my water bottle).
                                    Round-lobed Hepatica

My new camera, as I anticipated is not good for close-up shots of wildflowers.  Not sure what I am going to do about that.  I really don't want a big  complicated camera - just my old, lens errored, point and shoot, Canon SD 1000.  Well I'll keep trying with the new camera for a while.  Anyway...

                                     Kalamazoo River

                                     Maple tree starting to wake up for Spring
We had a really nice walk along the Kalamazoo River to Bear Creek and back.  Sat in the van where we enjoyed a hot cup of coffee and some glazed cake.  I know I always say how fun it is to go on these adventures, it was fun.  Great to be outside, free from worries, enjoying the out doors.

After Hepatica Hill we drove home going on 133rd Avenue, a place where we saw Marsh Marigold blooming March 24 2009 early to be blooming but every year is a bit different.  We did find buds of the Marsh Marigold at the mucky woods site this year.
These are the buds of Marsh Marigold, soon they will be
big, beautiful, yellow flowers.  Maybe next week?    


Anonymous said...

Wow! You finished your blog and I finished my account. Yours is beautiful with the photos, of course. I lose myself in them because they take me right back there. I liked the circles around the Skunk Cabbage. This shows how hard it was walking around them. We did have fun, doing nothing much in particular... M :)

stratovolcano said...

What a cool post! I love the picture w the circled Skunk Cabbage. I would not have noticed there were so many. I didn't know they are so common. It's neat to have a record of what was blooming when. I go to all new places, and I haven't been in West Texas even one year yet... maybe if I stay in one place long enough I will get to know places and things. I am interested in plants but not so much in birds. And really I am more interested in rocks. The photos in your blog look pretty good, but yeah you need to get a better macro point-and-shoot. I read online that point=and-shoots actually have some inherent advantages in taking macro photos vs. most SLRs. Neat places... always like to read your blogs!