Sunday 28 March 2021

Spring Came Early

 Yesterday I went out in search of Ruffed Grouse and spring plants. My first stop was Parkhill Conservation Area, in northwest Middlesex. This is a well known spot for both of the things I was seeking. Last June, I visited Parkhill CA in search of plants, and flushed a bird in the bushed I was 99% sure was a grouse, but since it would be a county bird, I obviously wanted to be sure. 

I arrived at the CA shortly after 7:30 (I checked out the reservoir first, but there wasn't any waterfowl). It was about 5 degrees out, so not super warm, but pleasant. It wasn't long before the Western Chorus Frogs and Spring Peepers started calling.

As I was walking through the woods, I found a single plant of what I believe is Spreading Sedge (Carex laxiculmis var. laxiculmis). The glaucous leaves make it var. laxiculmis

I continued along the top of the ravine. Plantain-leaved Sedge (C. plantaginea) was common.

The short red bracts are evident here!

Wide Leek (Allium tricoccum var. tricoccum) was another numerous species. I might cover this species in more depth in a future post.

The first of the "Hey, that's early" moments came with this Early Meadow-Rue (Thalictrum dioicum). 

Finally, I managed to hear a Ruffed Grouse drumming. New county bird! I heard it a couple times again later. I could now just focus on the plants :)

The first hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba) plant I looked at was this "four-leaved" oddity. Perhaps it was a good luck omen?

Lots of the normal looking plants as well, including some in flower.

Eventually, I decided to descend down into the ravine and head back. Seems I picked the right spot to go down, because I ended up coming across a big patch of Carey's Sedge (C. careyana)! This was one of my most wanted plants, and I was keeping a sharp eye out for it on this day. It is similar to Plantain-leaved Sedge, but the leaves have a more "unwrinkled" appearance. I didn't end up getting any good pictures of it, but the bract (basically a specialized leaf) is much longer and is green on Carey's Sedge, whereas it is short and red on Plantain-leaved. Carey's Sedge is ranked S2 in Ontario, meaning it is very limited in distribution, but it is known to occur in this area. 

You can sort of see the green bracts here...

An assortment of other spring plants, several of which I don't normally see until mid-April!

Early Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum giganteum)

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

Trout lily (Erythronium sp.)

Cut-leaved Toothwort (Cardamine concatenata)

Broad-leaf Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum canadense)

Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)
probable Twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla)

I photographed a couple mosses as well, including Bright Silkmoss (Plagiothecium laetum), a new species for me.

Bright Silkmoss

Dwarf Anomodon Moss (Anomodon minor)

I finished up at Parkhill, and the decided to stop into Coldstream CA on my way home. I had just under an hour to explore it.

There was a large naturalized population of Japanese Pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis) along the river. This is a non-native species. I am not sure how invasive it is, but it is one to be aware of.

I added another species of toothwort to the day list, Two-leaved Toothwort (Cardamine diphylla).

False Mermaidweed (Floerkea proserpinacoides) was just one of the species found in the floodplains.

As I was on my way out, I spied this sedge, which stopped me dead in my tracks. It looked like Carey's Sedge! I am not sure if it is known to occur in this location, although I do know it is known to be found further down the Sydenham River. Although I am pretty sure it is indeed this species, I'll have to go back to confirm it once it grows a bit more.

What an enjoyable few hours! I even managed to get a few plant lifers. I'm sure I'll be back out there soon...

1 comment:

  1. Hi Quinten! Sounds like you had a fun, successful day! Spring has sprung! 😉