Friday, April 11, 2008

Wetland Wander

-by Susanne Twight-Alexander, WREN Board Member

This morning's (last Wednesday's) wetland wander started with overcast skies but we were fortunate the showers held off until we were nearly to our cars. The Nature Conservancy's Matt Benotsch led our group of eight from the 18th street across through TNC fields on a "burn" road. We were able to see the difference between areas where trees and undergrowth are rampant, inhibiting the growth of native plants and those where burning and/or plowing are encouraging their growth. Right away there were bird observations of acorn woodpeckers and singing meadowlarks. Other birds spotted during the trip included juncos, songsparrows, robins (of course), and Canada geese. Matt pointed out many of the early spring plants, a few of which were flowering. A new one to me was the bittercress, delicate white flowers on small plants that love to have their feet in the water. We also found a buttercup and some saxifrage in bloom. Matt showed the group the leaves of the Kincaid Lupine (the favorite food of the Fender's Blue Butterfly) just beginning to emerge and we were fortunate to find a Bradshaw's Lomatium at the edge of an area which is being protected to encourage their development. (that was the flower in last weeks post!)

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