Friday, August 20, 2010

The Thousand Acre Swamp

In Penfield, one of the suburbs of Rochester, the Nature Conservancy owns a parcel that has been known for generations as "The Thousand Acre Swamp."  I had been there once or twice, years ago.  I decided it was time I went again.  After all, who knew what different things I might find?  It was a beautiful day, and I had remembered my bug repellent.

I hadn't gone very far into the preserve when I noticed one thing that was different from my trips into the meadows and woods.  There were frogs everywhere.  Can you see this little leopard frog, blending in with all of the greenery? 

The path leading into the swamp was beautiful, straight and dappled with sun.

But, I didn't have to go very far to find the first sign that I was, indeed, in a swamp.

It didn't take me too long to get to the main part of the swamp, and the boardwalk going through it.

The cattails along the sides, were maturing, sending up their familiar cigar shaped fruit.  This is one from this year.

And, this is one from last year, that has gone to seed.

Along the boardwalk, I also saw this muskrat house.

Literally dozens of these pretty red dragonflies.
And this beautiful little flower.  I know that it's a Skullcap, and, I'm pretty sure that it is the variety known as "Mad Dog."  What an odd name for such a pretty flower.

The boardwalk wound it's way through the swamp for quite a distance.  At one spot, they had even widened it and put in a benched area for people to just sit and admire.  It's very lovely, but it is too bad that so much of the swamp is choked with cattails, because you really can't see too much else.  But, there are places along the way where you see some lovely scenes.

After I left the boardwalk, the way lead through some lovely woods.  It's fairly dry now, but there are still soggy spots in these low woods.  Many of these spots are traversed with boardwalks like this.
There were plenty of orange jewelweeds there, none of them with seedpods ready to pop.

Oops, didn't even see the bee in this one, until I downloaded the pictures.  Good thing he was so intent on getting nectar.
This lovely white flower was growing in the woods.  It's Wild Snakeroot, and it's deadly poison.  One interesting thing that I found out when I was trying to figure out what it was is that Abraham Lincoln's Mother died from what is called Milk Sickness.  Cows eat the Snakeroot, and the poison gets into the milk.  Better management of milk, and the fact that the milk that we drink is consists of milk from many cows, diluting any poison that might be there, has lead, thankfully, to a great decline in this disease.

The woods are lovely.  I don't know whether they are so light and airy because they are second growth woods, or if the swampy conditions at other times of the year keep the trees from attaining any great size.

 From the woods, you go out into a small meadow.  It is full of lovely goldenrod, and birdhouses.  There is a bench there, dedicated to a man they call "Mr. Bluebird."  I think that I would have liked to have known that man.

 On the path that goes around this meadow I found this beautiful flower.  You can tell by the distinctive shape of the flower that it's a Lobelia.  I'm pretty sure it's a "Great Blue Lobelia."

These pretty little flowers had me fooled for a minute into thinking that they were Deptford Pinks.  But, when I got home and looked at the picture more closely, I decided that they were a close relative -- Rose Pink.

And, in a wet corner of the meadow, I found a lovely stand of Joe Pye Weed.  These aren't the somewhat disappointing ones that I found on Whiting Road, but are full headed and bright colored.

 I had let myself be lead further and further, always wanting to know what was around the next corner.  And, I found plenty of lovely things around that next corner.  But, I had been poking around for a few hours and I was faced with quite a hike back, so, I decided that it was time to turn around and leave.  I'll be back.

By the way, please excuse the rather random appearance of this post.  I've been trying to get used to the new Blogger for the past week or so, since they say that the old one is going away soon.  Today, it was a monster, sometimes not letting me put my descriptions anywhere near where I wanted them unless I moved the picture to one side or the other, and, sometimes, leaving these huge empty spaces, that I couldn't get corrected, no matter how hard I tried.  I am NOT impressed.


sophie said...

Now I know what orange jewel weed is. We were picking beans at Daddy Jim's sis' place and this was growing on the other side of the fence.
Thanks for the kind comments. Headers are fun to play with.

Terry said...

Ok, now I'm jealous. I can almost hear my footsteps on those wooden walkways.

Tina said...

Omg what a beautiful walk...I am totally crazy about walking on boardwalks....just love it. What a nice place your swamp is.

IsobelleGoLightly said...

It's very pretty there! My hooves would make a nice clippity cloppity sound on those wooden walk ways!

Ellen Rathbone said...

You had some nice finds! I hope to see a great lobelia someday, too.

wiseacre said...

I've been popping 'Touch-Me_Nots' for a while now. I'm surprised you didn't find any loaded pods yet. I love carefully picking them and handing them to the unsuspecting.

I hate to say it but the fact that cows rarely see a pasture these days is probably a bigger factor in the decline of snakeroot poisoning.

Let me know when you pass through Potsdam. If you have time there's always a nature hike close by.

Sharon said...

This is quite a different walk than the woods and meadow, but just as interesting and enjoyable.

Don't know whay I missed about blogger, hate the thought of having to remodel again.

Canyon Girl said...

Yeah, what's this about a new Blogger? Do I have to LEARN something NEW again? Way too hot for that around here. The greatest joy for me was to see all he green. You don't know how I miss it come this time of year. Also, you are seriously beginning to remind me of The Edwardian Lady. I so hope you will get that book this winter too.

Upupaepops said...

This area will be a good place to scout for orchids next year. bog orchids rein orchids are possible. Perhaps even some ladyslipper earlier in the year.

I have not had too much problem with the new template. I type first then upload my pictures. I have "centered" as my default but they justify everything left in the new template.

I move my pictures via cut and paste of code using the "Edit HTML" tab view.

name your pictures first, makes it easier to see their start and stop place. I also edit out the spacing on that tab

Vicki Lane said...

What a lovely place for a walk! We have many of the same flowers here on our farm in western NC -- but alas, so spiffy boardwalk!

John Gray said...

I love the walkway with the wooden railings, so quaint

Judith said...

Lovely place, and great pics.

PS: I have been battling with the new blogger template too.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

Hi Louise! Once again I have learned something from one of your amazing walking-adventures! I had no idea about Wild Snakeroot and will have to see if we have it growing around. We also have these orange flowers starting to bloom around and I'll have to look a bit closer at it to see if it's orange jewelweed--I really think they're a nice color at this time of the year.

barefootheart said...

What a beautiful place for a walk. I especially like boardwalks through wet spots that let you go where you normally wouldn't be able to enter. A great selection of plants.
I hate it when they change technology when you are perfectly happy with the old. The new rarely seems any better.