Monday, May 7, 2018

Wildflowers at Williams-Blackburn Preserve (plus a backyard bird!)

On Sunday (06 May) I led a wildflower tour of the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy's Williams-Blackburn Preserve.  After having beautiful weather for several days, the weather on Sunday was drab and dreary, with the threat of rain throughout the hike.  Despite the weather, a small group of wildflower devotees gathered to explore this little-visited preserve.

Williams-Blackburn Preserve is divided into two parts by the Chippewa River.  A small parcel of the preserve is on the east side of the river along Leaton Road.  The majority of the preserve is located north and west of the river.  This larger portion of the preserve is divided into the floodplain of the Chippewa River and an upland area dominated by an evergreen plantation and large area of invasive Autumn Olive.  Our walk took us into the floodplain area on the east side of the main preserve.  This area looks kind of like Florida in the above map.

The group climbing down into the floodplain.

The spring wildflower season has been both delayed and compressed by the unusually cold spring.  It has been delayed in the sense that many flowers are blooming weeks later than they would in a "normal" year.  It has been compresses in the sense that while the spring wildflower bloom is usually spread out over a couple of months, this year we are seeing species that would have bloomed two weeks ago are blooming alongside species that are right on schedule.

Spring Beauty

We ended up finding eight species of plants in bloom and another eight species that we identified by their foliage (leaves).  The species we found included Serviceberry, Spring Beauty, Common Blue Violet, Wood Anemone, Round-lobed Hepatica, Wild Ginger, Wild Leek, False Rue Anemone, Downy Yellow Violet, Pennsylvania Sedge, Bloodroot, Cut-leaved Toothwort, Blue Cohosh, Wild Geranium, and Cow Parsnip.

False Rue Anemone

Cut-leaved Toothwort

On a completely unrelated note: Baltimore Orioles (Icterus galbula) have returned to the area.  We put up our oriole feeders on Thursday and the birds started to visit within hours.  On Saturday I got my first ever photo of an oriole at our feeder.

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