Moving to the final third of summer

Jewelweed on the Boxers trail in East Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this afternoon. Interestingly, right when the hummingbirds need lots of blooming nectar rich flowers as they prepare for their migration and even begin migrating, the Impatiens are in their top blooming order!

Because of their small size, scientists are not able to track migration patterns of individual hummingbirds like they can for Snowy Owls and other large birds. So there is a gap in knowledge about exactly how they go about their migration.
This is the time of year when they begin migrating.

Impatiens capensis


This is THE Mayapple post of 2023! They have been appearing in previous posts and will most likely make an appearance In future posts this year, but this is the banner post for Mayapples. By the time these Spring Ephemerals are blooming, the season of the Spring Ephemerals is just about over. It’s the grande finale of them.

Podophyllum peltatum


The Lower Susquehanna River is graced with magnificent bluffs, reminiscent to me of the majestic bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River in Illinois and Iowa. I draw the comparison between the two, not as a contrast, but as an epiphany highlighting the nature and geology of North America’s grand rivers. The Susquehanna and the Mississippi share this grandeur on different geologic terrain, rivers that have never or will ever meet, yet share so many of the great river qualities.

Ferncliff Wildflower Preserve, sadly, never reaches the shores of the Susquehanna, which defines the creation story of the land the preserve is on. However, when we reach the top of the recently designated white blazed trail, the whole picture falls into place, and it all makes sense. The view is magnificent and it tells the story of millions of years of development of the Susquehanna River and its bluffs.

The Bluebells, Paw Paw trees, Trilliums and the many other species continue the narrative of the biological evolution.

Ferncliff Wildflower Preserve is very remote and has limited parking (first come first serve) with a very narrow trail leading up to the top of the bluff. Along the top there are rocks to sit on. This place has a contemplative quality about it.

Active railroad tracks along the river

White bluebells! Interestingly alongside a red Trillium erectum, which in this general area are mostly white and even named Susquehanna Trillium because of their regional difference.

The only specimen of red Trillium erectum we saw in the whole preserve!

The white Mertensia, another genetic anomaly found here!