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.


Anonymous said...

I really like your blog, Sister! I even wrote down your description of the Pinwheel mushrooms. Ross Coastal Plain Marsh Preserve is a wonderful place!
Your photos are like being there. Do any of your other readers feel that way, I wonder? This comment thing is challenging but try it. M :)

Plants Amaze Me said...

Marie, sorry it is diffcult to leave a message.
Pinwheel mushrooms, I've learned that mushrooms don't always have common names!
I couldn't find the caterpillar that dropped near you, you'd think with those markings it would be easy to match it up to a name.
Ross Coastal Plain Marsh Preserve is cool and big with over 1400 acres! Thanks for taking me there. :)

stratovolcano said...

wow what a cool post! Even some geology in there with the pre-glacial dunes! Wish I could see them. One suggestion though. Please have a warning when the next image will have a spider in it. It's cool how you and M name all the places. Nice fall colors, not getting much of that here except in the mountains. Thanks for blogging!