5 – Bear Springs Trail

My daughter Emily, her dog Gretchen, and I have begun hiking the original trails at Allegany State Park with the goal to complete them all this summer. This challenge, the Allegany 18, was put out by the Park. I sort of tricked Emily into it by leading her to believe there might be a patch at the end of it. I never said patch. But the logo for the contest looks like it would make a good patch and so she leapt to a false conclusion. Not my fault. Haha.


Bear Springs is an easy out-and-back half-mile trail. I say easy, and it was on this dry, almost summer day. But it is obvious there are sections that would be very sloppy in the spring after snow-melt and rain. There are several places where clever built structures help you over seasonally wet areas, though not all mucky areas have them.


The spring itself is pretty neat, covered by an igloo-shaped stone structure. I’m not sure why the water coming from the spring is orange. I suspect iron.


There are other structures nearby, too, that look like they were grills/ovens at one time.


A pretty little moth.


A plant! At first I thought it was a fern. But those seed heads seem to be coming from the fern-like foliage.


Obligatory selfies!


Salamander Migration

On a rainy spring night with temperatures sufficiently warm and ice melted from the ponds and ground we go to The Pool. We hope we have picked the right night and will be able to meet up with our old friends. We are not disappointed.

DSC01019-spotted salamander
Spotted Salamander

DSC01020-Jefferson Blue Spotted
Jefferson / Blue-Spotted Complex

DSC01023-leopard frog
Leopard Frog

DSC01024-wood frog
Wood Frog (not sure why he appears blue-ish here!)

This was only my second time using this camera (Sony DSC-RX100) at night. (The first time was in a snowy blizzard, and this time in the rain…) I tried using it without the flash, lighting each critter with a new, powerful MagLite flashlight I bought just for the occasion. I need to practice more to get better focus and to get the light just right, but I’m not displeased with the exposures.

DSC01076-Flashlight and Boots

Panama Rocks

I got to spend Mother’s Day at Panama Rocks with my family.

IMG_4542 Mother's Day 2015

It’s not an easy place to photograph. If it is a sunny day, the contrasty light makes it very challenging. It was quite sunny when we arrived, but clouds rolled in as our hike continued.

IMG_4490 My Girls

It was a hot day. But the rocks still held on to winter’s cold… quite literally in some spots where there was still ice.

IMG_4510 Panama Rocks

Even though my girls are in their early 20s, they adopted the spirit of 6-year-olds to do the park’s scavenger hunt.

IMG_4545 Emily IMG_4523 - Fat Man's Misery - Maddie

The hunt teaches both natural and human history.

IMG_4576 overhead opening

I didn’t really attend much to the facts. I was too entranced by the rocks and trees and play of light.

IMG_4549 Tree on Rock IMG_4567 Passage

IMG_4604 nice scene

IMG_4579 Through to the Light IMG_4598 Ice

Maddie was most excited by the scavenger hunt and did find the the treasure in the end!

IMG_4607 - Found the Treasure!

It was a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day. Thank you!

IMG_4584 - Painted Trillium

More Spring Wildflowers – JCC’s College Park

Thank you, Barbara, for making me “pay up” on my promise to take you on a wildflower walk.  And thank you, Kathleen, for joining us.  I think we made quite a (digital) haul!  I’m listing only the stuff we saw blooming.  There were also leaves of things that have already bloomed, and leaves of things that have not yet bloomed!

In no particular order:

  1. Dandelion
  2. Colt’s Foot
  3. Speedwell
  4. Ground Ivy
  5. Common Violet
  6. Another paler violet
  7. One of the Yellow violets
  8. Sweet White Violet
  9. Toothwort
  10. Cut-leaved Toothwort
  11. Wild Strawberry
  12. Myrtle
  13. Marsh Marigold
  14. Rosy Bells
  15. Solomon’s Seal (buds)
  16. False Solomon’s Seal (nearly open!)
  17. Wild Oats
  18. Squirrel Corn
  19. Dwarf Ginseng
  20. Goldthread
  21. Spring Beauty – Caroliniana
  22. Spring Beauty – Virginica
  23. Red Trillium, including a white one!
  24. White Trillium
  25. Wild Geranium
  26. Blue Cohosh
  27. Jack-in-the-Pulpit
  28. Foam Flower (just starting to break out of the buds)
  29. Trout Lily
  30. Barren Strawberry
  31. American Fly Honeysuckle
  32. Forget-Me-Not

Here are a few pictures:

I’m not sure of the species. It is paler than the Common Violet.
IMG_4413 - Pale Violet

IMG_4415 - Forget-Me-Not

Red Trillium
IMG_4447 - Red Trillium

The White Red Trillium
IMG_4464 - White Red Trillium

White Trillium
IMG_4467 - White Trillium

Wild Geranium
IMG_4473 - Wild Geranium

This doesn’t count because it was berries, not flowers, but we also saw Partridge Berries and Wintergreen.

IMG_4410 - Wintergreen

You can see a slideshow of all the pictures by clicking here. (Well, you can see some of the ones that turned out, anyway.)

Spring Wildflowers

Seems like forever since I crawled around on the forest floor taking wildflower pictures.  Here’s what I saw on a quick 1/2 hour walk at Jamestown Community College’s “College Park” today:

Trailing Arbutus:
IMG_4340 Trailing Arbutus
(OK, actually, this was over at Roger Tory Peterson Institute.)

Cut-leaved Toothwort:
IMG_4341 Cut-leaved Toothwort_1

IMG_4344 Hepatica

Yellow Violet:
IMG_4347 Yellow Violet

Sessile-leaved Bellwort (aka Wild Oats):
IMG_4350 Wild Oats

Marsh Marigold:
IMG_4358 Marsh Marigold

I’ve never had poison ivy before. If I’m going to get it, it will be today. I had to remove some “twigs” from around the Marsh Marigold. It wasn’t until I was done with my photographs that i realized what it was…

Blacksnake Mountain Wildflowers

Could not wipe the smile off my face all day.  The wildflowers were riotous!  Thank you to Patty, Bonnie, Bob, and Lolli for being my hiking buddies.

These were all blooming:

  1. Painted Trillium
  2. White Trillium
  3. Red Trillium
  4. Spring Beauties
  5. Dwarf Ginseng
  6. Barren Strawberries
  7. Common Strawberries
  8. Foamflower
  9. Mayflower
  10. Toothwort
  11. Common Blue Violet
  12. Sweet White Violet
  13. Round-leafed Violet
  14. Yellow Violet
  15. Canada Violet
  16. Long-spurred Violet
  17. Kidney-leafed Buttercup
  18. Squirrel corn
  19. Yellow Mandarin
  20. Rosy Bells
  21. Jack-in-the-Pulpit
  22. Dandelion
  23. Speedwell
  24. Cuckoo Flower
  25. Common Mustard
  26. Solomon’s Seal
  27. False Solomon’s Seal
  28. Golden Ragwort
  29. Miterwort
  30. Polygala
  31. Wild Oats
  32. Wild Geranium
  33. Perfoliate Bellwort
  34. Cress (I don’t know what kind)
  35. Bugle
  36. Forget-me-not
  37. Wild Blueberries
  38. Blue-eyed Grass
  39. Bluets
  40. Broad-leafed Sedge
  41. Sarsaparilla (buds)
  42. Red Elder (buds)
  43. Hobblebush
  44. Pin Cherry
  45. Canada Mayflower
  46. English Daisies
  47. Swamp Buttercup

    In addition, there were these either already bloomed, or not yet blooming:

  48. Colt’s Foot
  49. False Hellebore
  50. Leeks
  51. Bedstraw
  52. Red Elder
  53. Herb Robert
  54. Virginia Waterleaf
  55. Wood Sorrel
  56. Indian Cucumber Root
  57. Trout Lily
  58. Partridge Berries
  59. Dutchman’s Breeches
  60. Hepatica
  61. Jewelweed
  62. Mayapple
  63. Yellow Clintonia
  64. Blue Cohosh
  65. Round-leafed orchid

And of course there were ferns!

  1. Interrupted
  2. Cinnamon
  3. Sensitive
  4. Christmas
  5. Lady
  6. Maidenhair
  7. And others I wasn’t sure about…

Pre-Mother’s Day Walk

Every year, Jamestown Audubon offers a Mother’s Day Walk at its Bentley Sanctuary off of Fluvanna Avenue near the Strunk Road exit of Route 86.  I like to go on the Saturday before to see what’s blooming, and try to capture some fresh shots that maybe we can use next year to advertise the walk.  Here’s what I got yesterday:

IMG_9193  IMG_9198
The Blue Cohosh was challenging because it was rather breezy!

Toothwort was valiantly competing with invasions of Garlic Mustard. I’m not sure I can say it is winning. But I did find several patches.

Marsh Marigolds were definitely the brightest flowers in the forest!

There were plenty of White Trillium – this one armed and dangerous with a Crab Spider waiting patiently for a would-be pollinator.

Red Trillium were fewer in number than white.

There were several large patches of Spring Beauties.

I also saw but didn’t photograph Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Solomon’s Seal (buds), Trout Lilies, Common Blue Violets, Yellow Violets, Garlic Mustard, Dandelions, Cuckoo Flower, and Speedwell. There were leaves of several other species that will bloom later including bellworts and False Hellebore. And of course there was a LOT of Skunk Cabbage!

I’ve been trying for years to get that magical fiddlehead picture. Here are some attempts:

IMG_9223 IMG_9262

This one is kind of fun:

Finally, a couple of fungi caught my eye for their texture:
IMG_9217 IMG_9248


Happy Mother’s Day!  Take a hike!

Letchworth State Park

IMG_5550Google said it would take 1 hour and 55 minutes to drive to Letchworth from my house.  I knew we’d need a stretch break, so I figured 2 hours and 15 minutes, tops.  Google didn’t know about the detour on Route 39 causing our trip to be 2 hours and 40 minutes.  It all worked out, since friends we intended to meet were running a tad late.  And I can say with all sincerity, it was worth the drive.  I can’t believe I’ve never spent time in this park!

The description at www.letchworthpark.com says this:

Letchworth State Park, with some of the most magnificent scenery in the United States, comprises 14,350 acres along the Genesee River. Within the park, the river roars over three major waterfalls, one of which is 107 feet high. The cliffs, created by the river’s path over thousands of years, approach 600 feet.

It was a gray, misty day. Some might call it “dreary.” Not I. It was a good day. Just warm-cool enough that a rain jacket over a teeshirt was comfortable while hiking. And honestly, gray days often make for better photos.  (And I took over 200.  Yikes!)


The park was one the property of William Pryor Letchworth who lived in the very lovely “Glen Iris” estate house – now an inn and restaurant.


Mr. Letchworth began the work of restoring the area around his estate from the ravages of civilization (timbering mostly). Upon his death, the property was given to the people of New York State. Over the years it has grown into a park of over 14,000 acres that draws over a million visitors a year.

There is plenty of evidence of the work of the Civilian Conservation Corp throughout the park: rock walls and staircases.


IMG_5563      IMG_5613

I took plenty of shots of the falls themselves, but surprise surprise, I found plenty of “stuff” that caught my eye.

The Tuliptrees were in bloom… and many were dropping their blossoms.


IMG_5564      IMG_5571
As we looked over the rock walls toward the falls we saw all kinds of interesting flowers. Above left is the native Columbine. On the right is a flower I can’t remember ever seeing before. I don’t know what it is! Do you?

I took several photos of the plants on the edges of the cliffs with the waterfalls as a backdrop:

Oxeye Daises and Grass



Tucked into the rock walls or popping out of the layers of slate that make up the cliff were plants that were new to me:

IMG_5590 IMG_5608
I don’t know the species names of either of these. Do you?

I would also love to go back to learn what blossom will emerge from this lovely foliage:


I could go on and on. Instead, enjoy this slideshow of my Flickr Letchworth set:

Way Down Yonder in the Pawpaw Patch

The Ted Grisez Arboretum at Jamestown Audubon has a Pawpaw Patch!  I’ve written about it before – the year I learned what a Pawpaw is and actually tasted one.  Yesterday I took a stroll through the arboretum and found it blooming.  I was surprised by the flower whose petals remind me of Red Trillium.

It was late September when Sarah and I found the fruit…



…which we ate.

Pawpaws are Yummy and have cool Seeds


It is absolutely delicious with a smooth texture and flavors that make you think of banana and kiwi and mango.  It is described in some articles as the only “temperate tropical fruit” – a native to North America.

Range Map:
Pawpaw Range Map


We are at the northern-most part of its range.  It seems to be doing well in the arboretum.  It spreads by underground roots which is how a tree becomes a patch!

Bird Banding

We had a great, if a bit chilly, day at bird banding.  Here are some of the birds we caught, banded, and released:

Gray Catbird

Song Sparrow

Black-capped Chickadee

Common Yellowthroat

Yellow Warbler

White-throated Sparrow

Hairy Woodpecker, Female

Blue Jay

The ever observant Terry LeBaron also noticed a Song Sparrow fly up out of the grass, then went over with his camera:


He found the nest!


It’s always fun at bird banding.