Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Early Spring at Hepatica Hill

Find a sunny south facing slope, in April, somewhere near the Kalamazoo River in Allegan County, Michigan.  Then look closely at the brown leaves, gray twigs, black dirt.  You might just find Hepatica blooming!
Do you see them?

Round-Lobed Hepatica
 Round-Lobed Hepatica buds.

These wildflowers were the high point of our adventure but there was so much more.
First we stopped in Hamilton at the trestle bridge and saw the falls.

Down the road to Happy Boots Corner!  Nice wet woods!

                                             Skunk Cabbage
We walked far to the west coming to Sand Creek.  Along the way we found many interesting things.

Sand Creek, Allegan County, Michigan

Marsh Marigold buds, in a week this will blossom into big beautiful yellow flowers! 

I don't know what this plant is, a moss, liverwort, or something else.  It was quite small.  But it was green in a brown woods so we noticed it. 

And we found rocks.  Big rocks, and they looked different from each other.  This one was gray and white with a bit of pink.
The next one looked totally different, with a flat bottom and round top.

We found wood with trails etched in them, and according to Marie, "That's the S-shaped trails of the Emerald Ash Borer which only eats the inner bark of Ash trees!" 
For a few years we have been noticing trees with the bark damage and wondered what it could be. Here are two examples below.

Damage resulting from woodpeckers, searching for a meal on an emerald ash borer infested tree.  "Woodpecker flecking"

We saw these neat stumps left in a pile...

So much to see!

Then on the opposite bank of Sand Creek I saw liverwort!  Well the creek was just a bit too deep and a bit too wide to cross, so we went back to the snowmobile bridge and crossed there. 
There the creek bank was full of my favorite liverwort.

Later Marie and I did cross the creek on a log but no pictures of pictures.  I took pictures as Marie crossed but no I shouldn't post them.

While we were at Hepatica Hill (named by Mark Cassino) we walked all the way to where Bear Creek meets the Kalamazoo River.  It was a couple miles there and back, and it was a great spring day for a walk.  Like I said earlier, lots of gray and brown, and even some snow on the ground, but as we walked we saw some color flitting about?  It landed maybe 20 feet from us. I zoomed in on it with the camera, trying hard to hold still, and find that bit of orange.

Can you find the butterfly in the picture below?

There it is, circled in black.
It was beautiful, but we couldn't get closer.
 It was not easy to find this Eastern Comma - Polygonia comma  butterfly to get his photo.  We also saw our first Mourning Cloak butterfly of the year.  And a pretty Red Maple tree with flowers.

Looking down at the Kalamazoo River.  So we walked maybe 4-5 miles on this lovely spring day.  It was 37 degrees when we started out in the morning and 8 hours later the temperature was 21 degrees warmer. 
What a great way to spend a day.


Anonymous said...

It was a great day. Think of all the great days to come yet this season! Marsh Marigold blooming next week, for sure. The photo of the stumps really shows the grain of the wood. The Red Maple flowers are beautiful. That close-up of your Liverwort makes it look reptilian. The butterflies were a treat. But the best bits were the Hepaticas. So many shades of purple. Thanks for posting our day! M :)

Anonymous said...

Wonderful Walk In the Woods! MJ

Rhino850 said...