Friday, July 30, 2021

HUNTLEY MEADOWS CONTINUED

I am beginning with a few sights that greeted us as we walked through the wood.

A Fairy Door?  This was from a very tall tree which was hollow.  There were several holes like this one, inviting woodland creatures to take up residence, or fairies says I with a smile?  I stared into the various holes, and fortunately no eyes stared back at me in the darkness.

I saw two signs where people had begun to trample down the fauna and start their own trail.  There was a polite sign asking them not to do so, to protect the habitat.
We both said that the park was as lush and vibrant as we had ever seen it.  This is called a New york fern, a species of Parathelypteris.  Botanical name: Parathelypteris noveboracensis.  You can find more information here.
We have reached the boardwalk.  There are rules posted but there is a path on the left that you can take through more of the woods, if you have your dogs or anything else not allowed.
In all the years we have been coming to the park, visitors have been very considerate.  I did see a dog once but that was a long time ago, before this sign was posted.  The dog was very well behaved and rather sweet, but then it was in the winter time and there were no birds close to peek its interest.
Next are Cardinal flowers, a species of Lobelias. Other names are Scarlet lobelia, Red-lobelia and Cardinal flower lobelia.  Its botanical name is Lobelia-cardinalis.
One of my favorite wildflowers, it is a brilliant red, a native wildflower that grows in marshes, stream banks and low woods.  It is also a member of the Bluebell Family, and was named after the Flemish botanist, Matthias de L'Obel (1538-1616).  It blooms from July to September.  My information came from this link.
We noticed the water level was down, perhaps due to beaver activity.  There were signs of their engineering work (dam building) the last time we were here.  It is different every visit.

This interesting orange 'carpet' is a Dodder vine.
It is a slender annual vine that wraps itself around other plants, and is found in many states.   According to this website there are over 50 native dodder species listed that are known in the United States and Canada.  I have only ever seen this type grow at Huntley Meadows, so to me it was a surprising sight when I first saw it.
It was everywhere.  The white flowers seen in the photos below are Rose Mallow.  
The Common rose mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos). We came at a great time as they were blooming everywhere.  I overheard a lady say that they hadn't yet reached their peak.  

These lovely flowers will be blooming until September.  The bloom is larger than okra, cotton or hollyhocks, all of which are members of the mallow family.  The flowers are usually white or pink, but may also be a pale yellow (the only ones I have ever seen are the white).  All have the red or maroon center and the longish column of stamens.

Many species of butterflies and humming birds are attracted by the Rose mallow's nectar, but apparently it is deer resistant.

"Hibiscus" is the Greek name for mallow, and "moscheutos" means "scented like the musk rose".  Many of the hibiscus are called "marshmallow" because of their family relationship to Althaea officinalis, a plant introduced from Europe from which marshmallows were made (now produced from corn syrup and gelatin).


Getting away from flowers for a little bit, we saw this.  It was a large Snapping Turtle and I noticed he had quite a lot of moss growing on its back.  


I wouldn't make a guess at its age but I did read that they can live up to 70 years.  It takes the average common snapping turtle 15 to 20 years to reach maturity. 
Their eggs are white and perfectly round, like ping pong balls.  They can lay anywhere from 20 to 60 eggs in one clutch.   You can see what one looks like if you go to this link.  They are very prehistoric looking.  If you ever want to help a snapping turtle, there is a good video here that shows you the safe way to handle one.  An  interesting fact I learned is that they cannot retreat into their shells like other turtles.

That's all for today.  There will be another from this visit.  I have many posts from Huntley Meadows over this blog's lifetime, and if you would like to take a look at them, you can click on the label at the end of this post entitled "Huntley Meadows Park_Alexandria_Virginia".


Thanks for looking and have a great weekend.







28 comments:

  1. I learned quite a bit. I have never heard of the Cardinal Flower, or Dodder Vine, that is a weird one! We have lots of these white flowers around, so now I am guessing that they are Rose Mallow!!

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    1. Hi Ginny, the Cardinal Flowers grow a lot in our area, around the ponds, so I have known about them for several years now. Same for the Rose Mallow, since my visits to Huntley Meadows. I have only seen the Dodder Vine there and have known about it for a few years, but never knew the name until recently, thanks to my plant app "Picture This". Over time I have become more and more curious about everything I couldn't identify and when I came across this app I loved it. It rarely steers me wrong. I also have my trusty plant book at home that I have had for years :)

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  2. What healthy ferns there and a lovely walking track, beautiful flowers too.
    Here in Tasmania no dogs/cats etc. are permitted into our National Parks, there are Rangers about to enforce this.

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    1. Hi Margaret, I'm not sure what the rules are in the National Parks regarding pets. I'll have to check that out next time we go to one.

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  3. You see some interesting wildlife and plants on your walks that are not seen in the UK. I would love to see so many mallows growing wild and know that beaver activity is taking place nearby. The information is always appreciated. Have a great weekend.

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    1. So glad you found the information interesting Linda :) When we come back to UK I aim to go on lots of nature walks and learn about all the animals and birds we don't get here.

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    1. Muito obrigado! Estou feliz que você tenha gostado das minhas fotos. Um abraço e um bom fim de semana :)

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  5. What a lovely place. Those Rose Mallow are beautiful.

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  6. have not seen the dodder vine before, we don't have it here but have others that do the same thing. i did not know about the marshmallow hisbicus thing, all these years with them every where and i missed that part. the mallow family i mean. that red flower is amazing

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    1. Hi Sandra, it's always interesting to find out about these plants. I always find it fascinating :)

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  7. Hello Denise,
    Wonderful photos from your walk. I love the Rose Mallow and the Cardinal flowers. The Snapping turtle looks like a big one. Have a great day and a happy weekend!

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    1. Thank you Eileen, you have a great day and happy weekend also :)

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  8. The fairy hole is so intriguing.

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    1. Hi Christine, I looked in several of those holes on the tree. I don't know what I would have done if something had popped out! :)

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  9. interesting information on the turtle, that's a long life!! the hibiscus is so pretty, it is amazing what mother nature can do when we don't interfere!!

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  10. great clicks from your walk...loved all of em

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  11. Interesting post. Thanks for sharing your visit to Huntley Meadows.

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    1. You are very welcome Linda, I am happy you enjoyed it :)

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  12. Beautiful photos.
    Thanks for sharing your walk with us.

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