Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Approaching Fall at Lieber Nature Preserve

We had a little extra time this last week and thought we'd take a stroll at a nature preserve in our area called Lieber Nature Preserve or Pipewort Pond. It is actually one of the reasons I started this blog. When I initially looked for information on this little spot, I only found about a paragraph about it. I asked around the circles, emailed the appropriate people, etc. but didn't find much. Also, as I talked to people who lived within a couple of miles of it, so many didn't know that it existed. So, we started making and recording our own observations!

First off, it looks so different than when we last recorded about it in May on the blog! Some of the grasses and plants were up to our shoulders! It's also less green right now. The fall colors are really popping!

This goldenrod was gorgeous! Many people think this is giving them their allergies; however, it's really the Giant Ragweed which often grows nearby. There is also Staghorn Sumac near the entrance. These leaves are really changing! I've noticed it all around the area right now and the fuzzy branches are soft to touch. I have had several people mention poison sumac recently, wondering if plants like these are poison sumac. From what I understand, poison sumac is very rare and not generally in the area that most of us would be in. Here is an article that sheds a little light on it.

 



While we've found scat here frequently and actually find it quite interesting, finding dog poo right near the entrance isn't that cool. Please clean up after your dogs when on the trail. It is interesting to see the changes to the Queen Anne's Lace. I took a Winter Wildflowers in Winter hike last year and have been paying more attention to the various stages of wildflowers and plants as I go out now. 


Our 4-year-old had something to share! I can't remember what the discovery was, but I'm sure it was important. Taking the time to listen and let them share what is important to them can be eye opening and make a hike more enjoyable. 

 



We found milkweed with all these insects on them! We found many types of colors as we walked.


Including BROWN! It was easy to see that this branch was dead, so we talked about living/nonliving things and found a few other brown dead items, too. 


It was a gorgeous day! It was a little chillier early in the morning, yet clear and perfect for a walk. The young guy found mullein, a soft plant. He likes the many textures he finds!


He found a bird! We also found Virginia Creeper that was starting to turn crimson red. It usually turns early in the fall and has great color. People often confuse it with poison ivy (also changing colors right now), but it has 5 leaflets rather than the 3 leaves we think of with poison ivy. They often grow near each other, though. Also, the vines of the Virginia Creeper are not "hairy".


The grasses are changing colors and getting taller. This section almost looked like fiber optic strand lights with the sunlight and the way it collected the morning dew!

 

We had to spend some time investigating it! 


He found more textures to explore! 


We also found apples!


The bog area really looks so different! There are lots of plants out and the water is very low. 


These are neat spheres! The Buttonbush has lost its petals, yet is still gorgeous! 


I think what I loved most about our hike is when my husband said, "We should do that every week and look at the differences each time." Sign me up! I like when our nature explorations are initiated by him as well! I wasn't in the best spirits before we started our walk, but a little nature therapy certainly did me well! 


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