Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Kent County Michigan Park

May 8, 2014        A visit to a Kent County park!

We finally saw Miterwort (Mitella diphylla).  Here's a close-up of the snowflake-like flower. 
       Also for the first time this year, Goldthread!
                                Goldthread (Coptis trifolia)

          Some other interesting things we noticed.
            Great Scented Liverwort
        and I think this may be another type of liverwort. 
        Possibly Three-lobed Bazzania (Bazzania trilobata)?
                                   Golden Saxifrage
              Marsh Marigold
It was a beautiful day, definitely warmer and more humid this time, but nice.  We talked with a County park employee about the park.  It is always good to get info from people who know about the place you are visiting.  We saw many of the spring wildflowers blooming, Large-flowered Trillium, buttercups, Spring Beauty, hepatica, toothwort, and violets.
It is a very busy time of year. 
This week Marie and I went out for two full days of wildflowering.  Mike and I have been working on a massive amount of firewood, cutting, splitting, and stacking.  Not much time indoors on the computer for blogging or to do much research but I'm not complaining, because I would really rather be outside. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Warren Woods, Kesling Nature Preserve, Southwest Michigan

 Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)  Geranium family

My sister, Marie, and I started the month of May 2014 with a visit to southwest Michigan.  Warren Woods State Park, we were here in 2009 (before the blog began).

 We saw many old friends!  Wild Geramium, Large-flowered Trillium, Large-Flowered Bellwort, hepatica, violets, Spring Beauty, Marsh Marigold, buttercup, ferns, Prairie Trillium, Dwarf Ginseng, Squirrel Corn, Dutchman's Breeches, Wild Ginger.  I look forward to finding these spring wildflowers each year. 
Warren Woods State Park - Michigan
Legally dedicated natural area, Nation Natural Landmark
Size: 312 acres  Located in southwestern Berrien County, Michigan - 3 miles north of Three Oaks

"Warren Woods is a virgin beech-maple forest, the last of its type known in Michigan. There are outstanding individual trees of several species, including many greater than five feet in diameter and more than 125 feet in height. Spectacular displays of wildflowers are best viewed in April and early May." 



Large-Flowered Bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora)  Lily family
Most interesting part of the plant is how the leaf and stem come together. The base of each leaf is perfoliate – it completely surrounds the stem.

 Dwarf Ginseng (Panax trifolius) Ginseng family

 Prairie Trillium (Trillium recurvatum) Lily family


The footbridge at Warren Woods, over the Galien River.  A beautiful place to take a walk in the woods.
Then to Kesling Nature Preserve, Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy, along the south branch of the Galien River.

          Another interesting place to visit! 
Looking down into the ~40 foot ravine at Kesling Nature Preserve.
            Spring Beauty
          Marsh Marigold
We were just a mile from Indiana, so we drove across the Michigan - Indiana state line.  Then north to the town of Three Oaks, Michigan.
Harbor Country, website http://www.harborcountry.org/  We have used this site before to research parks and places in SW Michigan.  We actually came across the Harbor Country Chamber of Commerce 15311 Three Oaks Road Three Oaks, MI 49128. 

We had another day with perfect weather.  Fun!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Riverside Park and Aman Park in Ottawa County, Michigan

         Spring Beauty  (Claytonia virginica)
This week our adventure was to Riverside Park, then Aman Park.  It was cold, cloudy, and wet at Riverside.  There were just a few Bloodroot, Spring Beauty, and Purple Cress blooming.
 Purple Cress (Cardamine douglassii) Mustard family

 Riverside Park in Ottawa County, Michigan

Down the road to the east, still in Ottawa County, we drive to Aman Park.  At Aman the parking lot is near the edge of a steep ravine, it doesn't look like much until you take a peek over that hill.
Aman Park looking down at Sand Creek. 
There wasn't much blooming along the first part of the trail, just Periwinkle.  But as we walked on we began to see Spring Beauty, Large-flowered Trillium, Purple Cress, and a few Hepatica.  It was still cloudy, so not many flowers were open.  We walked to the northern bridge, then over to a large patch of Paw Paw trees, here we found Bloodroot but their blossoms were closed up tight.  Just then the sun popped out so we sat down and waited for those Bloodroot to open, and they did!
 Bloodroot (Sanguinaria Canadensis)  Poppy family

Well that was fun.  While Marie sat keeping an eye on the Bloodroot, I wandered around and took more pictures.
 Dutchman's Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)  Fumitory family

 Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)  Borage family, in bud.
Close-up of  Virginia Bluebells buds.

 Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)  Barberry family
 Looking down on Blue Cohosh.
The Spring Beauty started to open, another favorite spring wildflower of mine.
Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica) Purslane family
Time to move on.  We decided to walk the trail along Sand Creek to the southern bridge.  This is a wonderful trail that winds back and forth, several times.

Some Large-flowered Trillium were open, and there were thousand of these plants just starting to show buds.

 Large-Flowered Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) Lily family

We also saw  Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum)  Lily family

We also saw a Wood Frog,

and a blue butterfly, perhaps a Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon).

We made it to the southern bridge, and started up the hill to the car when a gentle rain began.  We learned something on the way home. Stay away from dark clouds.  The gentle rain turned into a downpour, next pea sized hail started pounding on the car.  Before the hail stopped it was marble size, pelting the windshield, hood, and roof of the car.  Amazingly no damage was done.  It was so loud, and hitting so hard I thought for sure Marie would have a pock-marked vehicle.
What it looked like on the drive home,
and below hail, but I didn't get out and put a quarter next to it!  Again we had a great day and made it home just fine.