Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Places in Barry County, Michigan

July 15, 2013 We visited some of our favorite places in Barry County and a few new places. 

                            Dense Blazing Star (Liatris spicata)

                              Death Camas was still blooming...

This is Wild Yamroot (Dioscorea villosa).  The vine can grow to be 15 feet long during a single season.  Wild Yamroot has small, greenish flowers and three sided pods.
Wild Yamroot Pods
Leaf, flower, and pods of the wild Yamroot 

We also saw Lopseed,

Lopseed (Phryma leptostachya) We see Lopseed less often than
 Jumpseed (Polygonum virginianum). 
Jumpseed lines the trails of most wet woods in west Michigan, sometimes the flower stalk can be several feet high but are usually knee high.  Jumpseed is also known as Virginia Knotweed.
Back to Barry County...

I found this dragonfly with a drop of dew on its back.

 The sundew was blooming

 Round-leaved Sundew

 There were a few shy Pitcher Plant blooming. 

 A plant we have never seen before Sticky False-Asphodel (Tofieldia glutinosa)
Lily Family.  I didn't get a good shot of the leaves.  I have been trying to get the whole plant in the photo, not just macros of the flower.  I'll keep trying.

 Smooth Rose

We saw a skullcap, we didn't identify the type, probably Mad Dog Skullcap or Marsh Skullcap.  I just like the color.

The lake was like a mirror. 

We stopped at Bassett Lake access site, and Baker Lake access site, both are beautiful lakes.
Baker Lake in Barry County, Michigan
Pickerel Weed (Pontederia cordata) was blooming.
In the Yankee Springs State Recreation Area we visited Hall Lake.  
We talked to a guy who was fishing at the lake, he told us there were natural springs down along the trail so off we went part way around Hall Lake.

I saw a Great Blue Heron on a log across the lake.
If you look close you will find the heron just up from the center of the picture, slightly to the left.  See him on that big log way out there? 
Now maybe you can find the heron.  I circled him in red.
Here is a picture that I zoomed in on the heron with my camera from the same place as the picture above..
Pretty amazing.  No tripod either, just a steady hand.
We found many Spotted (Striped) Wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata)  blooming.  I always call it striped because there is a stripe on the leaf.  This plant blooms in my woods too.

We found the springs the guy told us about. 

I know it doesn't look like much in the photo but it was a natural spring with running water.  One more plant we saw blooming.
Helleborine  (Epipactis helleborine)
It is an orchid and grows just about everywhere around here, in the lawn, along the driveway.  It seems to prefer disturbed areas.


 Hall Lake 
It was a fun day with temperatures in the mid 90's.  We made it through the heat and even managed to walk a few miles! 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hudsonville Nature Center, Sunrise Park, Aman Park

July 8, 2013
Hudsonville Nature Center is located at 2700 New Holland Street, Hudsonville, Michigan. It is our destination for this adventure.  The Nature Center is a 76-acre nature preserve of woodlands, prairies and wetlands that offers hiking trails, lookouts, wildflowers and picnic areas.

Since it was starting out to be hot day we decided to go to the prairie first.  Right off we were seeing the prairie flowers.

 Culver's Root (Veronicastrum virginicum) Figwort Family
 Culver's Root

                                White Wild Indigo

     Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium) Carrot family
Rattlesnake Master

Alumroot  (Heuchera Americana)  Saxifrage Family, is a small (under 2 ft. high and wide) perennial native to Central United States.  Loose racemes of insignificant green to cream flowers bloom in early summer.
                           Leaves of Alumroot

Thimbleweed  (Anemone cylindrical) Buttercup family

We saw many flowers but I really need to catch up on this blog so I will cut this short, or try to.  Here are a few more things we saw.
                         Flowering Spurge

    Bull Thistle

Robber Fly with lunch

 Okay really I'm almost out of the prairie...
Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) Mint family
The flowers begin blooming in the center of the head, gradually moving outward, forming a wreath of flowers.  They smell sort of like oregano.

Marie and I especially like the smell of Wild Bergamot because it reminds us of our childhood and our Dad.  It is a native perennial plant so I hope someone doesn't go pulling it out, thinking it is Spotted Knapweed!

Next Marie found this giant silk moth down in the grass.  We didn't want to disturb the moth so the picture really doesn't show its size.  We put the hand lens in the photo for size comparison.
It is a  Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus).  The large spots on the wings of the Polyphemus Moth look rather similar to eyes and it uses this intriguing adaptation to confuse potential predators.  Its wing span can be 6 inches. 
Believe me it was big.

Now out of the prairie. Yes, we are still at Hudsonville Nature Center, and off into the dark woods.  Clouds had moved in which cooled things down and there was a bit of a breeze.

 Michigan Lily  (Lilium michiganense) Lily family
Another native perennial plant, the beautiful Michigan Lily.

There is more to this park than just the prairie.  There are hills, ravines, and  a creek.

After this park I think we might have stopped by a Mr. Burger and got a chocolate malt (not a shake but a malt).  I'm not sure if this really happen or I just thought about a malt.
Anyway next we stopped in at Sunrise Park  (to eat the malts), 
located at the end of Springdale Street, it offers playground equipment, a tot lot, open shelter, ball diamonds and a picnic area.

   Part of the Sunrise Park Rain Garden

 Believe it or not we also stopped at Aman Park!  This is a park we go to in the spring to find spring wildflowers.  It's fun to see what things look like here this time of year.
 Trail at Aman Park in Ottawa County, Michigan
 Pointed-leaf tick-trefoil (Desmodium glutinosum) Pea Family        
These are the fun plants that get sticky seed pods on your clothes when you go for a walk in the woods.                          
                                 Hepatica Leaves

 Indian Pipe

   Sand Creek
We didn't have time to walk the trails much.  We walked to the north bridge and back.  Then headed home.
Slowly I'm catching up on this blog.  Marie and I have had some great adventures recently and I can hardly wait to post them.  But they have to be in chronological order, right?
Next time is more Barry County, including Hall Lake.