Friday, September 21, 2018

Early September 2018

 Mike and I had many more walks at Connor Bayou Park, an Ottawa County Park along the Grand River.  The woodland trail is high and dry, and is about a 1.25 mile loop, with overlooks of the Grand River and Connor Bayou. 
 The new bike path at the park.

 We saw red... in the Running Strawberry Bush and the Partridgeberry.

And more red!  I'm pretty sure this is a milk snake.  First one I have ever seen, it was on the steps at Connor as we went to the car.

More Red!  Virginia Creeper covers the trees at Connor Bayou Park.

The sun is setting noticeably earlier every day.  We either need to carry flashlights or go for our walks earlier.

Grand River from the kayak launch at Connor Bayou Park.

 Kayak Launch
September 5, Betsy went with me to Bass River Recreation Area to see the Closed Gentian, that I so much wanted to see.  There was sun and blue sky, what you don't see from the photos is how humid it was!  Such a wonderful daughter to cater to my whims!

                                                     Closed Gentian

Nodding Ladies' Tresses Orchid

My sister Sugar and I took at couple of very pleasant bike rides.  We started from the new bike path at Connor Bayou Park, then pedaled east to the M-231 trailhead, up the hill to M-231, over the Grand River, under M-231 and north to Leonard Street and back. It is called the Spoonville Trail. 
I found this bit of history about Spoonville, "John Spoon, born 1829 in Seneca County, N.Y., arrived with his brother, Daniel, in Crockery Township in 1856.  They established the town of Spoonville. A carpenter by trade, the centerpiece of the town was Spoon’s sawmill, that he built that same year.  Spoon also owned the largest farm in Ottawa County at one time. It was on this 848-acre property that Spoon discovered the Indian burial mounds where skeletons, copper and stone tool implements, and ornamental earthen vases were unearthed."  "Spoonville is a historic archeological site, located on the banks of the Grand River in Crockery Township, Ottawa County, Michigan. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973."

The ride was just over 7 miles, and it was on the first cool day we had this September.  Fun ride! 

M-231 Trailhead with parking, portable toilet, bike tools and air pump, and a bench!

                                             Grand River from M-231
On another nice day, we started again at Connor Bayou and rode our bikes to Riverside Park, about 4 miles east on the Grand River Explores Trail.

 Grand River from the boat launch at Riverside Park, Ottawa County.

Some pretty leaves, I couldn't decide which ones I liked best so I included all of them.

 Mike and I walked at Crockery Creek Natural Area, August 31, and I found Nodding Ladies Tresses growing in the path!  We were there again on September 7 and found all the Nodding Ladies' Tresses Orchids had been Mowed!  Sad but true.

Still a good walk.

With just a day or two of cool weather early in September, we returned to unseasonably hot and humid weather.  We also had some record rainfall, which brought out a fresh and frisky batch of mosquitoes!  Still I always appreciate getting outside for a walk or a bike ride!  Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

August 2018 The Second Half

 Connor Bayou

We had more hot and humid weather for the last half of August, and finally we had some significant rainfall.  It gets noticeably darker, earlier in the evening now.

        Connor Bayou

      Grand River at Connor Bayou Park -
      Ottawa County, Michigan

 We made a few visits to Hofma Preserve in Grand Haven Township. It was almost too dark for photos at 8 pm..

Crockery Creek Natural Area is on the north side of the Grand River.  From the park you don't get to see the Grand River, you can see Crockery Creek.
    Crockery Creek

The history of the property...
"The earliest record of activity on this property is that of a brickyard that operated in the 1870s. A large pit still remains today where clay and other materials were dug and formed into bricks. A small barge then transported the bricks to Grand Haven to build roads and for other uses.
In 1882, the Kirkby family came from England, purchased this land and built their homestead. Several generations of the Kirkbys lived on the farm for 123 years. Mrs. Frankie A. Kirkby was the last of the family to reside there until her death in 2005. She was 94.
Frankie and her husband, George, moved into the house to live with George’s mother in 1940. At that time, George’s mother was raising turkeys and peddling them along with butter and eggs in Grand Haven.
George was an electrician and a school bus driver. Frankie was a nurse in Muskegon. In addition to their jobs, they kept a working farm with 13 dairy cows, a couple of horses and some chickens. They also grew a variety of crops including wheat, oats, corn, potatoes and vegetables. They used most of the animal and plant products; however, they did sell chickens and eggs to neighbors. In the 1950s, they logged some virgin oaks and maples from the property to supplement their income.
During a conversation in 2002, Frankie recalled fighting hoards of mosquitoes as she rounded up the cows from the “flats.” She also stated what a thrill it was to see the first whitetail deer on their property in 1940. She remembered seeing a beaver on the property, as well as many muskrats that George would trap.
The Michigan Historical Commission certified the farm as a Centennial Farm in 1982."

                   Great Blue Lobelia, beautiful color!

There was a visit to Riverside Park, another Ottawa County Park.  This park is on the south side of the Grand River about 3 1/2 miles east of Connor Bayou Park.

     Obedient Plant

    Cardinal Flower

     First time I have seen a white Cardinal Flower!

   It was getting so dark, I needed the flash to get this photo of Pale Touch-Me-Not. 

       Max Lake

   Grand River and Max Lake

One very hot day, August 20, I walked at the east end of Bass River Recreation Area owned by the state of Michigan.  I went to check on the Cardinal Flowers, which I found blooming nicely.  Also to see if the Bottle Gentian were getting ready to bloom.  I found no Bottle Gentian but it was early for their bloom time.

We call this place Cardinal Flower Lane! 

  Many beautiful plants were blooming, like this Frogfruit!

   This is Water Plantain and below I tried to get a photo of the whole plant.

 Monkeyflower was blooming even though the big puddles and small ponds where it grows were dried up.

Dried up pond
 Only this deeper pond had water.

August 22 - Marie and I were again exploring Allegan State Game Area along a section of 126th Avenue.

                 Flowering Spurge

           What an interesting place and there is water!

              We saw several of these, maybe a coral fungus.

The going was getting rough...

I'm not sure if this is an orchid, the leaves look like orchid leaves, but no flower...
                             Lots of liverwort!

We came up from the swamp area and moved on to woods and fields.  It really is a beautiful place.  Here we saw two kinds of Blazing Star.

And a foxglove....maybe Smooth False Foxglove? 

More fungi...

    Partridge Pea

 A plant that we have never identified before, maybe we never saw it before... Naked Stem Sunflower!  The name describes it, the stem has only tiny leaves and looks bare.

     Deptford Pink

Next we left the open fields and walked to the Kalamazoo River through the woods.

 Along the way we saw Bladdernut ...
     Wild Cucumber
For more information on this vine, check out New Hampshire Garden Solutions, right there under My Blog List on the right hand side of this blog.
            Obedient Plant


After hiking more than a half mile, through the woods on a two track, we came to the Kalamazoo River. 

 It was a fun day, very warm, and we covered a lot of territory...5+ miles!  We found so many plants, even some new ones! 

August 29 Another trip to Allegan County. 

It had rained for several days and even the day we were here there was some rain.  So for that reason, I think, we saw more types of fungi.


          I call this one the Flower Fungus...

 Wow that was a lot of fungi!  We did see flowers too.  Right off I found Autumn Coralroot.  It's an orchid!

When we got to an open field, Marie found Field Milkwort (Polygala sanguinea)!  I don't think we have seen this plant before...

 This place in Allegan County is considered a Coastal Plain Marsh.   From Michigan's Natural Features Inventory website...

Coastal plain marsh is a grass-, spike-rush-, and rush-dominated wetland community that contains numerous plant disjuncts from the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains.

One of the special flowers we see here is Meadow Beauty.  At this site we see mostly the Maryland Meadow Beauty or Pale Meadow Beauty (Rhexia mariana).

All of the foreground in this photo is Maryland Meadow Beauty plants that have already bloomed!  Another common name for this plant is Meadow Pitchers, see why in the photo below.

There were a few of the Virginia Meadow Beauty (Rhexia virginica). 
At other Coastal Plain Marshes we usually see the Virginia Meadow Beauty.
Here are a few more things we saw that day.
 Kalm's St. John's Wort (Hypericum kalmianum)

     Bear Creek

I made another trip to Bass Recreational Area, alone.  We had several inches of rain since I was there August 20, ten days earlier.  The dry areas were no longer dry!
 August 20 BRRA
   August 30 BRRA  Almost the same spot.    

   But the Bottle Gentian had made their appearance!

I also saw a few Nodding Ladies Tresses orchids!  These two plants, the gentian and ladies tresses, are the reason I made this visit!   
Here is more of Bass -  August 30th 2018
The month ended with one more trip to Crockery Creek Natural Area.  I had to mention this visit because I found Ladies Tresses here for the first time.  It is most likely Nodding Ladies Tresses but the orchid wasn't quite blooming.  And they were growing right on the mowed path! 

Trail at Crockery Creek Natural Area

August 2018 started dry and hot.  It ended wet and hot.  I hope you enjoyed my adventures as much as I did!  Thanks for stopping by.