Friday, April 18, 2014

It Must be Spring!

For me, the one sure sign of spring is the appearance of wildflowers. It was in January of 1986 that I opened a book in a Connecticut library and saw photographs of Garden in the Woods located at the New England Wildflower Society in Framingham, Massachusetts. I was hooked.

That spring I went on my first spring wildflower hunt, visiting over twenty state parks, nature centers and preserves. At the end of those six weeks, I had developed a strong passion for day tripping, so I just kept going, eventually leading to my day tripping, picnicking, and recipe book, Cruising Connecticut with a Picnic Basket.

Last week, when I spotted a notice in the Venice, Florida newspaper announcing a guided wildflower walk at the Curry Creek Preserve, I was thrilled. This one, led by Sarasota County Environmental Specialist Jeff Weber, was an easy hunt. I just enjoyed the beautiful day and environment as Jeff pointed out all the wildflowers on the one and one-half mile trail called the Pinebrook parcel. And birds, On this day, Jeff spotted a swallow-tailed kite, a new species for their bird list, bringing the total number to 103!

Curry Creek Preserve, is an 82 acre preserve purchased by the Sarasota County Natural Resources - Preserve Management in 2002. The native habitat includes a mangrove forest, tidal marshes, and scrub and pine flat woods. Their website also lists wildlife: gopher tortoises, alligators, river otters, eastern indigo snakes, and an assortment of wading birds, such as roseate spoonbill and wood stork. Oh yes, there is a creek, separating the Pinebrook parcel and the Albee Farm parcel, including a canoe and kayak launch located near the preserve's west entrance.

When I got home and deciphered my scribbled notes, I was surprised to count over 20 varieties of wildflowers, including Carolina jessamine, four-petal St. John's Wort, Chapman's Goldenrod, Yellow star-grass, Hoary pea, rose rush, and several clumps of hatpins.

A few looked somewhat familiar to me, but I surmise they are just different varieties in this state. Oh, if only I had thought to bring my wildflower identification book and journal to Florida with me!
For more information on Curry Creek Preserve:
Happy Spring!