Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fall Color at Ludington State Park

2011 10 24  It turned into a beautiful sunny day after a night of late October thunderstorms.  Temps in the mid 50's, blue sky.  Marie and I went to one of my most favorite trails, Island Trail with Lost Lake Trail at Ludington State Park just north of Ludington, Michigan.

We checked out some interesting rocks under the shallow waters of Hamlin Lake (this man made lake originated during the logging era when lumbermen dammed the Big Sable River to make an enormous holding pond for trees felled upstream).

                                   Maybe a Pike?

While on Bing maps online I saw one large interdunal wetland near the trail we would be walking on.  We ended up taking a side trip to find it. 

It was big, how big, well more like a small lake.  There were cattails, and lily pads, this place always has water, it doesn't dry up.  And I found Gerardia blooming, lots of it!  This was a very special place, quiet and remote.

On our way out of the park we just had to stop and check out some more wet areas. 
These wet areas dry up, and we found there wasn't much water here but lots of mud.  As soon as I started looking around I found just one Kalm's (Brook) Lobelia blooming! 
Just one flower.

We moved on to a place where last summer we had seen several Bladderwort. 
Remember the Horned Bladderwort from July 2010?

This is the land of Horned Bladderwort.
I was just saying to Marie, we were walking on future bladderwort when I looked down and found the Last of the Summer's -  Horned Bladderwort!! 
            There was just the one. 

What a great day!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bucks, Fox, and Coyote - Oh My!

In My Backyard

Know the laws when hunting! 

Safety Zones Around Buildings
Safety zones are all areas within 150 yards (450 feet) of an occupied building, house, cabin, or any barn or other building.

No person, including archery and crossbow hunters, may hunt or discharge a firearm, crossbow or bow in a safety zone, or shoot at any wild animal or wild bird within a safety zone, without the written permission of the owner or occupant of such safety zone.

Trespassing is illegal and seriously erodes support for recreational hunting.

Permission is required from the landowner or leaseholder before you may hunt on any farm lands or connected wood lots or on any posted private lands. Landowners may grant verbal permission. Hunters are required to produce their hunting license to landowners upon request.

If you wound an animal or bird and it runs or flies onto private property, you have no legal right to pursue it without permission of the landowner. Without permission of the landowner, you are trespassing and subject to prosecution.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ross Coastal Plain Marsh Preserve

Mud Lake at Ross Coastal Plain Marsh Preserve

We explored Ross Coastal Plain Marsh Preserve two weeks in a row. Parking at the south lot on September 26, we traipsed for 5 hours.  First down the main trail then to what we call Meadow Beauty Corner, called that since we found Meadow Beauty there in 2010.

                 Meadow Beauty Corner

 We found a special plant in this area, it's called Coastal Plain Flat-topped Goldenrod. I was on the look out for Autumn Coralroot,  a wild orchid.  We found it here in 2010 but on the last day of August, so I wasn't sure it would be around.  It was! 

                Autumn Coralroot (Corallorhiza odontorhiza)

We saw a frog and a toad. A caterpillar fell out of the trees near Marie, I haven't ID'ed it yet.
                         Puff Balls. 
We have been seeing these tiny pinwheel mushrooms with a white parachute collared cap, and a dark wiry stem, growing on fallen oak leaves.  I think it might be Marasmius capillaris.

Beechdrops (Epifagus virginiana ) with Cobweb spider, maybe Theridion frondeum.

We followed the trail west toward the nearby highway U.S.196/31 here we found some clay tiles so we now refer to this spot as "clay tiles corner" and here the trail goes north but we, like the crazies we are, turned south to follow a deer trail. 
Up and down we went on the non path, it wasn't easy but we were exploring new territory.  Finally we came to a point where we had a creek on our left and a highway wire fence on our right.  Oh Oh!  We didn't want to go back the way we came, no fun, and I wasn't going near the highway.  Then it got worse the creek crossed in front of us to go toward (and under?) the highway. 

We found a narrowing in the creek and a bit of a sandy spot, we had our boots on so it was just a few steps through the stream and up the bank on the other side.  Whew.
Now we were close to the road we started on (44th  Avenue), we had to go a half mile east and some of that was through the "Ancient sand dunes from the shores of preglacial Lake Nipissing".

The next week (October 3rd) went to Ross and walked ~5 miles, we were out there almost 5 hours.  We headed north on the main trail then west to Meadow Beauty Corner, we found lots of branches and some trees across the trail, it had been quite windy this past week.  And most of the pretty colored leaves were gone at Meadow Beauty Corner.

Both weeks we found the orchid, Nodding Ladies' Tresses.  The first two photos are from September 26th.  The third photo is the same plant one week later.

Nodding Ladies' Tresses September 26
Nodding Ladies' Tresses on October 3

This time we kept to the trail and went north at clay tiles corner, we walked all the way past Mud Lake and to the east, to 38th Avenue. 
Along our hike we found  Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) blooming!

There is another entrance to Ross here but it is much less traveled.  In 2009 we came to this 38th Ave. road end and under the tall grass found a wooden sign for Ross, now three years later the sign was up against a tree.

Now we turned back to head west to Mud Lake, here you can find the old partial foundation from the Ross family home.   There is also a map sign of the trails here. 

We sat in this scenic place and had a snack while watching a Mourning Cloak fluff its wings.  After skirting the lake a bit we went back on the main trail (one and a half miles) back to the car.  Total hike according to my pedometer 4.16 miles!  According to Bing maps 5 miles, I think it was definitely, at least, 5 miles!  A beautiful day!

   Turkeys hogging the road.