October 3, 2012

Government Island

The nature walk at Government Island on September 17 was another success. The weather was beautiful and the park held more new wonders for the participants. Each time I enter the park, I see something new. Each season brings new stages in the plant cycle, and new visitors of the animal variety. This time we saw a beautiful great white egret out on the marsh. Not the first time I have seen one of those beauties there, but not an everyday sighting. Along the edge of the parking lot we saw turtlehead blooms. Along the path there was plenty of stilt grass (invasive) competing with lady's thumb for the honor of lining the asphalt path. Some consider lady's thumb to be invasive, also. But I would rather see lady's thumb over stilt grass any day. Speaking of invasive species, I will be contacting Stafford Parks to discuss the problem of the amount of invasive species at Government Island. It has been a "disturbed" are for hundreds of years. The invasives are overtaking the natives, without question.
 
The best find of the day was the strawberry bush at the end of the walkway, on the marsh side. A strawberry bush was displaying its red "strawberries", some of which had opened to show the orange berries on the inside. I had never observed this plant at this stage of its cycle. A brilliant display. Most of the strawberry plants at the island are small, pathetic things barely holding on.

There will not be a walk in October, but I hope to see you on Saturday, November 17 at 8 AM.
Maria Cannata, Master Naturalist