Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fields And Wild Turkey On Beebe Hill

I was hiking up Beebe Hill with my four younger dogs on a hot, sunny mid-week afternoon. We took the old service road instead of the forest foot trails and this was providing me with lots of wildflowers to photograph and attempt to identify. This one was easy - Yarrow, Achillea millefolium:

And there were lots of ripe raspberries to eat. And eat I certainly did:

And then I encountered yet another flower with which I wasn't familiar. This plant was one I don't think I've ever seen before. It looked vaguely like what we used to call Yellow Rocket or Wild Mustard. I've looked it up now and decided that it is absolutely, positively - a mystery to me:

The dogs ran happily into a clearing, full of playfulness, and I followed them:

Now this may look to you like a picture of not much of anything, but that's only because I was too slow getting my camera out. A very large turkey was standing in the field and all my dogs were uninterested (or at least came when called) except for little Clover. She wanted to chase the turkey which jumped up and down but either wouldn't or couldn't fly (it was HUGE!). Finally the turkey ran off into the woods with Clover on its heels. The turkey easily weighed 10 times what Clover weighed and could have put a real whoopin' on her. Perhaps she'd have learned a lesson if that had happened. As it turned out, I fear she learned that chasing wildlife is fun and I'm now going to have to somehow train her otherwise:

The turkey crisis over, we continued on the trail up Beebe Hill and I kept watching for wildflowers such as this Red Clover, Trifolium pretense:

Another abundant Clover was this Smaller Hop Clover, Trifolium procumbens. I also saw many much smaller Hop Clovers and assumed they were the same species. But I just learned, while searching my Field Guide, that the tiny ones were most likely Least Hop Clover, Trifolium dubium:

Despite it being such a hot and sunny day, I stayed out of the woods and continued on the service road. The temperatures were nonetheless a good 10 degrees less than what I'd left behind in Albany. Oh, the wondrous benefits of forests:

There were lots of Dragonflies, but only this emerald and black jeweled beauty held still long enough for me to get a photo:

I passed by lots of Steeplebush, Spiraea tomentosa. This attractive flower was new to me a few years ago when I discovered it on Harvey Mountain, just down the road from Beebe Hill:

I'm afraid my photo of this plant was not good enough for a real identification, but I was sure it was in the Mint family and a very common lawn weed. I'm reasonably sure it's Heal-All, also known as Selfheal, Prunella Vulgaris. Wouldn't Prunella Vulgaris be a wonderful name for a female villain? Anyway, we were well on our way up Beebe Hill by this time and approaching an important decision. I'll post more tomorrow:

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