Sunday, April 27, 2014

Spring Wildflowers in Ottawa and Allegan Counties 2014

This post will be several adventures combined.  I hope to give you an idea what is blooming in West Michigan, places in Ottawa County and Allegan County.

Riverside Park at Max Lake

 Along the trail at Riverside Park in Ottawa County, Michigan
Then a stop at Connor Bayou, another Ottawa County park.

 Connor Bayou on a rainy evening.
 Along the Grand River at Connor Bayou Park, Hepatica was blooming but it was closed up due to the cloudiness.

A trip to Minnie Skwarek Nature Preserve in Spring Lake Township revealed no wildflowers blooming except for Skunk Cabbage.

Then the next day Marie and I went to Allegan County, Silver Creek County Park, and Happy Boots Corner.  Silver Creek County Park, (3900 - 134th Ave., Hamilton, MI)   is primarily an equestrian park and has both day use facilities and a primitive campground. Silver Creek is 320 acres in size and connects to over 25 miles of horseback riding trails. There are 75 campsites in the park, 65 of which are available for horse camping. Silver Creek also has 450 feet of frontage on Silver Creek, which is a spring fed trout stream. You will also find picnic tables and grills available in the day use area. The most beautiful and unique thing about Silver Creek is that the entire park is primarily wooded, providing for plenty of shade in the hot summer months and some spectacular foliage color in the fall. In keeping with the primitive setting, there are no modern restrooms or running water, but there are hand pumps and vault toilets. Silver Creek Park is open year round and has some spectacular fall and winter camping available.
We went here to see if the Trailing Arbutus was blooming. 

      Trailing Arbutus
     Trailing Arbutus

 Silver Creek in Allegan County
Along the road to Happy Boots Corner, we saw a fair amount of snow in the ditches, this was April 22, this is late in the spring to still find snow here.

 Happy Boots.  No, you won't find that name on a map.  We named this place.  There were several plants blooming here.
                                        Spring Beauty
 Spring Beauty
 Spring beauty, some are almost white, these were shouting pink!

 And we found more Golden Saxifrage!  This time I put a quarter by it to compare for size.  The flower is tiny.

 This is a photo of our bench, which we rested upon and listened to frogs!
 We saw Marsh Marigold blooming!

 Skunk Cabbage
We enjoyed Happy Boots for a few hours, then moved on to another special place with warm, sunny, south facing hills to see Trout Lily, the white variety.

                   Squirrel Corn

And one Large-flowered Trillium that was really blooming.  When we got back to my house I checked on my very own Round-lobed Hepatica.  It was blooming too.
It was a fun day with great weather.  The wildflowers are coming along just fine, if a bit slow.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Fred Russ Forest and Dowagiac Woods in April 2014

April 17, 2014 

An adventure to Fred Russ Forest in Cass County was the start for our day.  Here is some info on this park, "Nestled along the Volinia Creek, Fred Russ Forest and Newton's Woods County Park, is a nature lovers paradise with its old growth forests, acres of wildflowers and abundant plant life. Located on Marcellus Highway, one-half mile east of Decatur Road near Volinia, Russ Forest offers two picnic shelters with electricity, potable water, equestrian and hiking trails, fishing (designated trout stream), horseshoe pits, and much more. In cooperation with Michigan State Univeristy, Russ Forest is also considered a national landmark with 737 acres of virgin black walnut and white oak. It is also home to one of the largest standing Tulip Popular trees east of the Mississippi River. Beautiful landscapes and peaceful natural settings are the rule rather than the exception at this very popular county park."

We saw a few more wildflowers blooming this week.
          Trout Lily

              Dutchman's Breeches 

                 Marsh Marigold


               Thyme-leaf Speedwell

            Spring Beauty

This was an interesting plant that we found, Golden Saxifrage!
 I should have put the quarter in this shot - the flower on the Golden Saxifrage is only 1/4 inch in size, petals absent, anthers orange to red-orange.

         Face Tree

                  Tulip Tree

We walked about 2 1/2 hours in the park.  It was a perfect day to be in the forest.  Then we drove eight miles west to Dowagiac Woods!  We were here 6 days ago and we could see the difference in the plant growth.  The plants hadn't gone crazy, they might have with a bit of rain. 
We saw Marsh Marigold, Spring Beauty, Hepatica, Trout Lily, False Rue Anemone and
Bloodroot, all blooming.   We saw more Large-flowered Trillium, and Dwarf Ginseng but both were just in bud.
We did see many beautiful Sharp-Lobed Hepatica blooming, they are my favorite.

A maple tree had fallen down, some branches had flowers on them yet.
And we saw this Eastern Box Turtle.
 So that was our day, a very nice day.