Barbara Ann (A”H or OBM”) showed me Watts Flats Wetland Reserve in far Western New York State. It sure must have been conserved because it includes several unique, rare and hard to find green plants.
This was one of them. Barbara Ann didn’t know its name, and that told me that it was special, very.
She passed this year, and Oh how she will be missed. She enabled me to visit many wondrous reserves in New York and in Ohio, where she introduced me to Angela and several other accomplished naturalists.
With 2021 just around the corner, my immediate plan is to scour Georgia and Florida for butterflies, and at the same time, seek extraordinary wildflowers and orchids. Who to lead the way, now that is the question?
June in western New York, at Watts Flats Wetland Reserve. I went there to find butterflies. As happened too often in the U.S. northeast this 2016, I found few butterflies. In ’17 I expect this disappointment will see some academic explanation. To date, that is not yet available.
But this June 2016 day brought new acquaintances. Among them was this stand of diminutive elves, boasting their bright white blossoms. Several dozens of them. Crouching down, the thought was immediate. I kind of recognize these flowerheads. It later dawned on me. They resemble the blossoms on my 3 Cherokee Red Dogwood trees, on my Pittsburgh lot.
When I got home, I grabbed my National Audubon Society field guide, Field Guide to Wildflowers – Eastern Region. This is the only herb in the dogwood group.
It is Bunchberry ( Cornus canadensis ). It is uncommon, and difficult to find. We found it here, near Busti, New York. It’s about 4″ tall, and when you happen on it in cool, wooded edges, you s-t-o-p, knowing you have just found something, well, novel.
It makes for a fine, memorable day. Admi$$ion fee here at Watts Flats? Zero.
The objectives at Watts Flat Wildlife Management Area in western New York? Orchids, wildflowers & butterflies. 2016 has proved to be a challenging year, what with very few butterflies to be found. Every Monarch seen is cause for, well, celebration. Those Baltimore checkerspot butterflies at the Jamestown Audubon Center’s Reserve (again, western New York) were more juice to the system. Meeting bog copper butterflies at Allenburg Bog (western New York) was totally exhilarating! Those Zebra longwings in Kathleen, Georgia (south of Macon) evoked many thoughts: graceful, beautiful, poetic, languid flight, fresh, . . . .
The Watts Flat hike dished up neat wildflowers, especially Bunchberry. Then this darner was spotted. Darners trigger curiosity, wonder and awe, as they effortlessly shoot at some speed from here to there.
Waste film on this beaut, who accepted my robotic approach to within 16″ of its personal space? Sure.
A winged beauty, certainly. A winged beauty that insists that you pause, and examine its complex form & beauty.