Nature Discovery Day Is July 13

On Saturday, July 13,  there is a great opportunity for visitors to the park to become more familiar with the wildflowers, butterflies, birds, mammals, trees — and more – of Eliza Howell Park: 9:00 – noon. Free and open to everyone.

Resized_20190527_141858_9041

There will be exhibits, activities, and options of guided walks designed to point out some of the natural wealth of this Detroit park. The park entrance is on Fenkell east of Telegraph. The event also includes an opportunity to learn more about the U-M wildlife motion-activated camera project (which includes Eliza Howell Park).

Among the highlights of mid-July are the meadow/prairie wildflowers. Among those catching my attention recently are these.

20190705_121638

Clockwise from top left: Foxglove Beardtongue, Black-eyed Susan, Butterfly Weed, Common Milkweed

The event is organized by Eliza Howell Park Partnership (EHPP), a coalition of persons with different organizational affiliations and a common interest in highlighting Eliza Howell as a place for observing and enjoying nature in an urban environment.

Guides will be present to assist in identifying the varieties of flowers, as well as the specific species of butterflies they attract. These are among the common butterflies at this time of the year.

20190705_123112

Clockwise from top left: Monarch, Common Ringlet, Red Admiral, Pearl Crescent.

While I am often unable to get a picture of a butterfly I see, it is never difficult to find flowers waiting to be photographed.

20190705_122050

Clockwise from top left: Staghorn Sumac, Chicory, Wild Bergamot, St John’s Wort.

Eliza Howell is the kind of nature park it is, in significant part, because the Rouge River runs through it. For those who wish to take it on Saturday, a short walk to the footbridge provides a good view of the shaded river.

20190705_122423

Back in the field, one flower not to be missed is Wild Bergamot, a mint family flower, sometimes called beebalm, that has only recently begun its summer blooming season. It is a magnet for a variety of insects. In this picture, the visitor is a Hummingbird Moth.

20180712_155601

Many mammals are more active at night than during the day. The cameras used in the UM wildlife camera project have located and identified some of the mammals of the night, as will be reported on July 13.

Two that I have recently seen during the day are White-tailed Deer and Groundhog.

20190708_104019

I thank EHPP for providing this opportunity to witness and enjoy the natural wealth of the park.

 

Woodland Spring Wildflowers: An Update

In late April and early May, most of the wildflowers blooming in the park are found in the woods. This is changing; from now on, most blooms will be in the more sunny areas.

On my walk on May 21, I took a look at what remained of the spring woodland flowers.

Trillium is still blooming, but fading.

20180521_152711

Wild Geranium is at its peak, now the most prominent flower along the path through the woods.

20180521_152440

While earlier the Mayapple was recognized by its foliage, the single flower per plant is now open (though one needs to get down close to the ground to get a good look.

20180521_153944

20180521_154341

Violets were plentiful in Eliza Howell this year, both in and outside the woods, and they came in a variety of species/colors.

20180504_130142 (1)

Now the few remaining blooming violets in the woods are the white ones. It is noteworthy that the plants are now much taller and the leaves larger than when blooming began.

20180521_153029

This may be my last walk of the year focused on woodland wildflowers. Overall, 2018 was not a great early wildflower year, the probable result of the weather – a cold April and a wet May. But the flowers will come again next year and I hope to be ready to greet and welcome them.

 

Earliest Spring Wildflowers: Eliza Howell Park

2018 has been cold in March and early April, but the weather will get warmer and wildflowers will soon start to bloom.

Those who have the opportunity to walk in the park looking for blooming flowers this spring may see the following in late April or the beginning of May.

This 11-flower list is not all-inclusive, but it might provide some guidance to spring flower seekers.

All photos are from Eliza Howell Park.

  1. Spring Beauty
  • Woods
  • 3 – 6 inches
  • Usually 5 petals marked with pink or purple vein

20180404_162125

2. Cutleaf Toothwort

  • Woods
  • 8 – 12 inches
  • 4 petals

20180404_162253

3. Yellow Trout Lily

  • Woods
  • 6 – 10 inches
  • 6 backward curving petals

20180403_131057

4. White Trout Lily (Dogtooth Violet)

  • Woods
  • 6 – 10 inches
  • 6 backward curving petals

20180402_201017 (1)

5. Common Blue Violet

  • Woods and meadows
  • 3 – 8 inches
  • 5 petals

20180409_122502

6. Canada (white) Violet

  • Woods
  • 6 -15 inches
  • 5 petals, lower 3 marked with fine brown-purple veins

20180408_160533

7. Garlic Mustard

  • Woods
  • 1 – 4 feet
  • 4 petals
  • Non-native plant

20180404_163416

8. Wild Strawberry

  • Meadows, open areas
  • 3 – 6 inches
  • 5 rounds petals, numerous yellow stamens

20180404_164234

9. Wild Geranium

  • Woods
  • 1 – 2 feet
  • 5 petals, usually with dark veins

20180403_132139

10. (Common) Trillium

  • Woods
  • 12 – 18 inches
  • 3 large petals
  • Protected Michigan wildflower

20170426_103248

11. Redbud

  • Edges of woods
  • Small tree, native of North America
  • Flowers are pea-shaped and appear on twigs and branches

20180408_160315

Varieties of Violets

This is an unusually cold early spring, but new plant growth is slowly emerging. On a recent walk in Eliza Howell, I noticed that a few violets are now up. 

20180402_170158

The flowers will follow before long.

While some roses are red, violets are not truly blue. They come in a variety of other colors, reflecting the variety of violet species that exist. Probably the most common violet found in Eliza Howell Park is the color that I have always associated with this flower.

20180402_171011

It grows in the woods and in the open areas. In the next picture, it can be seen with wild strawberry blossoms.

20180402_200509

In 2017, I photographed three other colors of violets in the park. 

20180402_170434

20170501_172137

20180402_170630

Not all Spring flowers that are sometimes called “violets” are really violets. One of the flowers found in EHP in Spring is one (next picture) that is frequently called “Dog Tooth Violet.” It is not a violet (the leaves and the flower are both very different) and is, I think, better identified as White Trout Lily.

20180402_201017

The violets are coming and different varieties will be blooming before April is over. I wonder… perhaps I will find an additional variety this year.