Thursday, May 2, 2013

Six Parks in 12 hours in Michigan - Part 1

2013 04 29  What a day we had in southwest Michigan!  It started off rather foggy, but quickly cleared up.  Along the way going south on U.S. 31, the trees and grasses were mostly brown, then slowly we were seeing more green (grass and small leaves on trees), red (maple tree flowers), and yellow (willows and Marsh Marigold).

We drove to Buchanan with the intention of visiting Trillium Ravine Plant Preserve, but since we started out at 7 a.m.  I suggested going to a few other nearby places so the trillium had time to wake up .  I got out my David Brown - Michigan County Atlas, and searched around the Buchanan area in Berrien County, Michigan.  We don't usually visit city parks, or playgrounds but we do like somewhere with a trail and hopefully water.
   Buchanan, Michigan  Redbud City... Notice the swan on a nest near the sign.

On the map I found Redbud Park, Spafford-Lark Woods, McCoy Creek Rec. Area, Bakertown Fen Preserve, and down the road a few miles west of Buchanan is Mud Lake Bog.  I did some research on Bing maps trying to find addresses for the GPS. 

The first place we found was called Riverfront Park.  Mostly a large, grassy, pull off, high above the St. Joseph River.  A very beautiful view and right off we saw wildflowers, lots of wildflowers!  We poked around a bit at this place then headed down the road to find Spafford-Lark Woods.  We did see a sign along the road with the name of that place but there was no parking available. 
 St. Joseph River at Riverfront Park
        Dutchman's Breeches
So we turned a corner and found McCoy's Creek Trail / E.B. Clark Woods.  Nice place, hills, creek, trails.  Wildflowers, too.  We talked to a guy who was walking a dog, and he said he was finding Black Morels.  All day long we were out with our noses to the ground, and never saw one morel.

                    McCoy Creek in Buchanan, Michigan
Our next stop, not counting the gas station for ice cream bars, was Bakertown Fen Preserve.  Like I said earlier, I was able to get addresses from searching on Bing maps, we saw the sign, again no parking.  So around another corner we go, we found the entrance and a place to park along the road. 

There were wildflowers blooming here too, and I got a good
up-close look at Marsh Marigold, which is a favorite of mine. The yellow color of this flower is so deep and rich, and they usually grow right in the black mud at the edge of the water or even in the water.

There was a solid bridge here over the McCoy Creek,  I saw some very bumpy amphibians...hugging.  

 McCoy Creek at Bakertown Fen Preserve
Then we came to a spot where the water was deep and fast with only a log across to reach the other side.  We wisely turned back to the car. 
There is a place called Mud Lake Bog about 4 miles from Buchanan.  Marie and I visited there in 2009 (before this blog started) and at that time it was very flooded, so much that I didn't dare go on the boardwalk like Marie did.  We drove to Mud Lake Bog and this time it wasn't flooded. 

First we went up on the observation deck.  Painted Turtles, seven on one log and several more around the small pond! 

                                                 Purple Dead Nettle (Lamium Purpureum)

We climbed down and started around the boardwalk through the bog.  Leatherleaf (Chamaedaphne calculata) Heath Family, was blooming everywhere.  A bogful of Leatherleaf.

Pitcher Plant were busy catching insects, and I saw what I think is a liverwort. 
     Some sort of liverwort?  Maybe Bog Liverwort, we were in a bog!

 Mud Lake Bog is an interesting place.

Well that was the first half of our day, and in the next post I will tell about the last half of the day.


Anonymous said...

Very nice post! Spring wouldn't come to us so...
Thanks for navigating so well from place to place.
Can't wait for the rest of the story. M :)

Anonymous said...

Excellent photos of the flowers! We're darn lucky to live in a state like Michigan, where there are so many little nature preserves and parks scattered all over the place!

Plants Amaze Me said...

Thanks, Marie. Yes we went to Spring! You drive, I navigate it works well. The rest of the story, hopefully, will be done in a few days.

Plants Amaze Me said...

Thank you Jerry. I was surprised how many parks and preserves are in and around Buchanan. Some parks, as you know, are city, county, state, MNA, Nature Conservancy, so it can take some research to find them all. We are very lucky.

New Hampshire Gardener said...

Jerry's right-you don't know how lucky you are to have had people find and then lead you to so many parks with wild flowers. We have parks but nothing like yours and there are very few wildflowers in them. They're more for dog walkers and joggers than anything else.
It was worth the effort-you got some great photos of the flowers. (I wouldn't have crossed that log either)

Jenn said...

Just thought I'd let you know that the McCoy's Creek Trail has a new part now. It's length is about 3.5 miles just through the city of Buchanan. :)

Plants Amaze Me said...

Thanks so much Jenn! I'll be sure to check that out next time I visit Buchanan.
: )

Plants Amaze Me said...

Thanks so much Jenn! I'll be sure to check that out next time I visit Buchanan.
: )