Monday, June 7, 2010

Wildflower Day

Today was a normal Monday.  I met with the park staff in the morning at the shop and the administrative staff a little later in the office.  There wasn't much news to report.  We are all focused on two things right now; spending every last dime of our budget before it is gone at the end of this month and get ready for youth camp to begin at the end of this week.  It is a busy and stressful time of year for everyone, but we are just putting our heads down and working through it all.  It will all get better soon.
I got to take a trip out of the main part of the park today to head to the northern properties.  I really like taking the trip up there.  It is peaceful and I love being out in the field.  Today it was especially fun because there were so many wildflowers in bloom.  The hot days and afternoon rains have been just what the flowers needed.  There were so many flowers in bloom that I had to pass some of them up (I do still have a job to do) and even some that I photographed that will have to wait for a slower blog day.  I started at Rock Springs Run Reserve.  I drove down the entrance road and found the majority of the flowers along the road edge.  Before I even started seeing flowers though, I spotted some Wood Ducks in one of the ponds.

The first flower is not very showy.  The Blackroot doesn't have much color to its bloom.  It is just a big white cone.  The insects that it attracts bring a little life to the party though.  The bright colored beetle was easy to spot on the pale background of the flower.

Another beautiful white flower was on a tree.  The Loblolly Bays were in bloom and they were just stunning.  These trees are dependent on the ponds and marshy areas at Rock Springs Run Reserve.  Their roots do not go very deep into the ground so they would dehydrate quickly without a constant source of nearby water.

I had to lean over some Blackberry bushes to get close to the Loblolly Bay flower to take its picture.  I was so focused on the white flower that I didn't even see the berries at first.  I looked down to place my foot so that I could lean over the plants and saw that there were ripe berries.  After I took a few more photos of the flower and the berries, I had a little snack.  They were sweet and delicious.  I left plenty more for the wildlife.

The next place that I stopped had quite a few flowers as well.  This second area was further away from the ponds, in the drier grassy areas.  It was easy to see which side of the park drive got the most sun.  One side of the road was covered in beautiful flowers and the other had only a few.  The first flower that I photographed at this spot was appropriately named, Meadow Beauty.  It is a vibrant and fun flower.

Nearby, I found another purple flower.  This one I can't find a name for.  It is a delicate flower and it eventually becomes little tufts of fuzz.  It spreads it seeds the way that Dandelions do, via wind.  I like the jagged little edges on each petal.

The last flower that I photographed is also nameless for the time being.  It is very similar to a lot of other yellow wildflowers, but I couldn't find this one in my field guides.  It looked very nice with all of the purple flowers around it.

When I left Rock Springs Run, I headed to Katie's Landing.  It was the first time that I had been there since the bulkhead was completed.  It really looked good.  The park no longer looks 'under construction' and the bulkhead looks like it has been there for years.  It has come along way since I posted the last photos less than a month ago.

When I got park to the main area of the park, I went home for lunch and then spent the rest of the afternoon in the office.  I finished up my first draft of a proposal for funds to rebuild the bridge at the spring.  It was nice to get that project out of the way.  My manager is looking it over now and I will add some more photos, but I'm glad to have the majority of it done.

Thought of the Day #17
It was fun to see so many new flowers today.  Its still amazing to me what a difference in vegetation there is just three hours south of where I had been at Troy.  I don't remember seeing any of the flowers that I showed today at Troy.  It makes me wonder how much of the difference is related to the excellent burn program here and how much is geographic.  I am glad to have the blog though, I wouldn't have looked up all of these flowers otherwise, I'm sure.


Anonymous said...

The loblolly bay flower looks like it has a fuzzy outside. How fun is that name? Its awesome. Loblolly!

Ranger Amy said...

We have Loblolly Pines too. It is a fun word to say!