Spring Homecoming - April 23, 2022

It has been far too long since I posted. I'd meant to do some catching up, but that seems to be keeping me from posting at all, so let's just move forward!

I visited the Witchwood this Saturday for the first time since fall 2021. 

It felt SO GOOD to be back! I'd forgotten how much I love this place. 

Spring is well underway! 

The golden saxifrage is blanketing the seeps and blooming its heart out:

The arbutus and goldthread are budding:

And the ferns and painted trillium are emerging

The Joy of Rediscovery

The big discovery of the visit was re-locating leatherleaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata). I'd only seen it once - my very first spring here in 2019. 

Leatherleaf is a fairly low-key shrub found (as far as I know) only in the early successional area along the brook. It only really stands out to me in spring when it flowers with little blueberry-like flowers lined up charmingly along the stem:

Looking Forward

I'm thinking a lot about how to keep up my survey efforts this year while other things in life are pulling me elsewhere. 

In 2020, I visited the Witchwood almost every single weekend from March through October. As social life re-emerged in 2021, I visited much less and almost always with friends. My data collection suffered accordingly. In 2021 I spent about 1/3 as much time surveying as in 2020, and I documented approximately 2/3 of all plant species known to occur there.

In 2022, I expect to again have limited visit time available, so I'm thinking about how to maximize data collection with limited time. My goal is to do a number of in-depth, focused survey visits, distributed strategically through the year to catch the greatest number of species. 

Early spring: late April (done), late spring: late May-early June, full summer: August, fall: late September. With this approach, I hope to document at least 85% of known plant species. Let's see how I do!