All Sorts of Sizes, Shapes, and Colors
While I spend a lot of my time in the late summer enjoying the shapes and colors of migrating birds as they pass through our region, I also love to botanize as I hike, checking out the kaleidoscope of wildflowers which grace our trails and fields this time of year. And so if I’m not searching for birds, I’m often hiking with Wren and snapping shots of flowers as we go.
Like birds, wildflowers can be found almost anywhere you go - meaning a simple walk can be spent learning about them. Many species occur along roadsides, trails, and other places disturbed by humans, and we don’t have to go far to enjoy them as a result. I regularly walk on the Bloomingdale Bog Trail, on the railroad tracks along Lake Colby in Saranac Lake, and at Intervale Lowlands Preserve in Lake Placid, and all three places are flush with color right now. The same was true of a recent birding trip I guided in the Champlain Valley where the roads were lined with chickory, bladder campion, bird’s foot trefoil, various goldenrods, and many others.
You Don’t Have to go Far – So Get Out There!
I also get to enjoy late summer wildflowers in my yard – many of which I’ve planted the past few years. In fact, as cold fall air arrives (as it inevitably does) and spells an end to our colored walks, I collect the seed-heads from the wildflowers to spread in my yard. This helps keep things fresh year after year and I get to enjoy the likes of goldenrods, common milkweed, and flat-topped aster. Not only that, but many species of birds and insects use native wildflowers a great deal, and so the plants create a landscape in my yard in which life flourishes. It all makes this one of my favorite times of year to spend time in my own yard.
And, since so many of these species can be readily seen in so many local places, it seems good to provide some identification help for the next time you are out in the woods. Here are some late summer wildflowers which you may see.