Sunday, August 24, 2014

Boulder Knoll

This afternoon I took Kermit and my 60mm macro-lens for a walk at the Boulder Knoll conservation area in Cheshire CT, which is less than five miles my parents’ house. While I am staying in CT, I am making an effort to appreciate and explore the local natural areas, primarily by visiting conservation easements and state parks.  

For being a relatively small town, Cheshire has a surprisingly large amount of land set aside in various types of conservation easements, state parks, or other open-space arrangements  (click here for a map).

Boulder Knoll has one main path that cuts through the property. It follows along a power transmission line, through some patches of wetland (mostly phragmites and cattail), and herbaceous open areas (characterized by plants you would expect in a disturbed setting such as this- ragweed, golden rod, autumn olive etc.).  I spent about three hours along the short path, exploring and photographing some of the flora. The conservation area, which actually consists of three farm properties has an interesting history (to read about it and for a map click here).

An up-close shot of a black walnut leaf

There is a lot of golden rod on site (Solidago canadensis). It was fun (and difficult!) trying to photograph the bees floating from flower to flower. 

Blue vervain (Verbena hastata)

Blue vervain (Verbena hastata) and an unknown bee species

A shot of some of the open area. In the foreground the golden rod (mixed in with ragweed) is obvious. In the background, a large patch of Phragmites australis is visible

Common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia)

The invasive shrub, autumn olive
The sedge Carex vulpinoidea

Kermit always enjoys getting out

I found this unknown sedge- can anyone out there in the interwebs tell me what it is? (globe sedge?)
Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

Giant ragweed (Ambrosia trifida)

A type of joe pye weed

Some sort of lobelia?
Common dog bane (Apocynum cannabinum)

A species of Polygonum
Soft stem bulrush (Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani)
I convinced Kermit to pose on top of the log horse jump (“stay!”), which is found along the main path through the property.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sleeping Giant State Park

Early yesterday I went back to Sleeping Giant with Kermit. We went up the Blue Trail again, this time I found it to much quicker and easier for Kermit (and myself!), since we both have had some time to get back into hiking shape. I brought my little point-and-shoot field camera, however, the battery was low and died just after I took this one photo. It was a beautiful morning, with a clear sky and empty trails.