Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Riverside Park Twice in 15 hours!

2012 03 25 and 26  Sunday was filled with family obligations, so no time for an afternoon walk, we (Mike and I) walked instead from 7 to 8 pm., part of the time in the dark.  How different things look here at dusk.  This is what we saw...

After a week of record high temperatures and then some rain, everything was green and leafy. 
 Purple Cress was all over the place.

Same with the Spring Beauty but most of these were closed up.  I don't really know which flowers close-up at night, or for the cold.

For the first time this year Trout Lily was sort of blooming.  Again this might have been closed up for the night?  There is white Trout Lily and yellow Trout Lily, these look like they might be white but we will have to see them open to tell for sure.

Trout Lily

Some Bloodroot was still blooming but most was already done with a seed pod sticking up between the leaf. 

Bloodroot with seed pod.

Some one was out kayaking.

And then the sun was setting as we headed back to the car.

Sun setting over Bass Lake in Ottawa County Michigan

2012 03 26
The next morning when I shared the news about Riverside being so green, with my sister (Sugar),  she was ready to hop in the car and go see the green for herself.  So that's just what we did, 15 hours after Mike and I had left Riverside.  Am I lucky or what?

So this is what we saw 15 hours later, one problem was it was only 36 degrees!  It was the beginning of a cool down, and it felt very cold after 70 and even 80 degrees the days before.
 Trout lily still closed up tight.

Another Trout Lily, none were open.

Most of the Bloodroot are done blooming, this one is closed up tight too.
Eastern Red Bud (Cercis canadensis) is budding out but also not yet open.

Lots of Eastern Red Bud

 The willow has done its blooming.

Farther along the trail there is a patch of Bloodroot still blooming, but not very open.

New for the year a buttercup...then we went back along the trail that has the most flowers and we found they were opening up a bit.

 Spring Beauty

 Violets, purple and yellow

Small-flowered Crowfoot (Ranunculus abortivus) Buttercup Family.

This Purple Cress was looking less peaky on our way back down the trail.
A beautiful day.  Thanks Sug.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wildflowers to Wood

2012 03 22 With the warm-hot weather all plants have been popping out early and fast.  I picked up my sweet sister, Sugar, (she must be sweet we call her Sugar, hey why didn't they call me sugar?  Oh well) and we visited Minnie Skwarek Nature Preserve, Ottawa County, Michigan (Land Conservancy of West Michigan). 

There was still more brown than green as we started off. 
The swampy area was full of big, green, Skunk Cabbage leaves but when we got to the first bridge I saw what I came to see.  A Marsh Marigold blooming!  Just one blooming, many coming up.
Marsh Marigold

We also saw, newly out of the ground amazingly, Mayapples, "Umbrellas", no flowers of course, but a little forest of green making their way up through that cold hard packed earth. 


We saw just one hepatica blooming, it was pale compared to mine here at home. 
Round-lobed Hepatica

There were frogs and birds singing. 

Bridge at Minnie Skwarek
It was a warm day but nice to be out.

Also going on this week was woodcutting, splitting, and stacking, March is a good month for this because the leaves aren't out on the trees yet. 
One of my smaller piles of split wood.
We worked hard and there is much more work ahead.  It's actually fun when the weather isn't too hot to work.  And this log splitter makes it much easier.  It's my job to keep the home fires burning and to do that I need wood.
That's just some of this busy week.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Somewhere along the Grand River

This week for our adventure, on this last day of winter, my sister Marie and I were greeted by the sun.  The picture above and below were taken as we drove to our destination.  Sunrise.

We have had some Michigan Department of Natural Resources property on our radar for a couple of years.  It is some place right here in Ottawa County that we have never been to.  

We have been to many places in the 6 1/2 years that we have been going on weekly adventures (year round).  We made a park and places list, and it isn't up to date, but we have over 300 different park or places of special interest on that list that we have visited.  Of course we have revisited many places several times.

This trip takes us to the confluence of two rivers, Bass and Grand, we walked 6 miles total for the day, and had an encounter with a snake.  

We parked at the road because the two track in was a little dicey.  We found a plaque on a rock something about Ducks Unlimited.  This is more of a hunting place than hiking.

It was warm even when we started out early in the morning.  The sun was turning things golden ahead of us but behind us in the shadows it was still misty and gray. 

We saw Skunk Cabbage, Purple Dead Nettle, and Northern Spicebush (Linders benzoin) blooming right away.  

Sandhill Cranes were in the fields, they knew we were there before we knew they were there.  I hope we didn't disturb them too much.  They must be doing OK since a flock of 30 Sandhill Cranes flew over the house the other day.  
Sandhill Crane, see them in the center of the picture?

We saw Sycamore trees and beautiful Bur Oak trees, then we found several groups of violets, maybe Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia)?  Violets are hard to ID, sometimes it is OK to just know it's a violet. 

We found False Rue Anemone (Enemion biternatum) Buttercup family.  

Here are just some shots of what we saw as we walked. 

We heard tons of frogs, the birds were singing, the sun was shining, this is perfect.

 Strawberry plant leaf with dew.

And we saw our first dandelion blooming, I know it's a bad weed but it sure is pretty.


After almost 2 miles of walking we found the confluence of the two rivers.  We have been on the other side of this water but we have wanted to come here for a long time and now we did it!  

A little island on the Grand River.

Part of Bass River

Heading back to the car I spied this snake in the grass, and I haven't been able to identify it.  I detained it briefly (and gently) which the snake didn't like, and it lunged at me.  The snake was ~ two feet long, had a very red tongue with a black tip.  We thought it had a sort of checkerboard pattern, was it an Eastern Garter Snake? After a few pictures and a video of it lunging at us, we left the poor thing alone. No snakes were injured while I was taking these photos, although it may have had a nightmare or two.
 Go away or I will bite you!

We had been out about 4 hours and walked 4 miles, we do take it slow and enjoy.  Back at the car it was 78 hot degrees.

Down the road we go to Lincoln Street to check out some Siberian Squill (Scilla siberica) of the Hyacinth family, a non-native to Michigan.  

Siberian Squill 

We stopped off at Riverside Park (Ottawa County) and ended up walking to the point so that was the other 2 miles for our day.  
 Virginia Spring Beauty (Clayton virginia) Purslane Family
There is a Carolina Spring Beauty that grows near here but those have stem leaves that are oval not linear like these.

 Bloot Root (Sanguinaria canadensis) 
Well that's where I will end with this trip, another fun time.