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Crow’s Nest: Summer Scenes

August 15, 2023

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.

American hazelnut seeds in their ruffled sheaths

Photo: Daniel Barringer

After an extremely dry late spring, we’ve been fortunate to experience a mild summer with abundant rainfall. While few enjoy warm muggy days, it hasn’t been as hot as it could be, and we aren’t experiencing the extreme weather that some regions are. We’ve had very few days over 90 degrees and the rain has ensured that plants are growing well. We’ve also had a few cooler days that alert us to the possibility that autumn is coming…

I like to remind people that Crow’s Nest has a second peak of wildflowers blooming in late summer in our wet meadows and this is a good time of year to get out here to see them.

Not all of our summer features are flowers, though. Above, the seeds of American hazelnut (Corylus americana), also called filbert, are borne in their frilly sheaths.

A shed cicada skin clinging to the bark of a tree

Photo: Daniel Barringer

And on trees you may find the shed shells of cicadas. As kids, we used to collect these and make armies with them, brigades facing each other. Now I just appreciate them where they are.

Purple coneflower and black-eyed Susan growing along a path at Crow's Nest Preserve

Photo: Daniel Barringer

Around our visitor center the summer wildflowers, purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) and black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) line the path at the barn ramp.

Wildflowers planted in a swath beside corn

Photo: Daniel Barringer

Alongside some of the crop fields our farmer bought wildflower seed that we planted in 2020. Above, wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) and ox-eye sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides) attract pollinators and provide beauty.

Small dog sniffing plants including cardinal flower, from a boardwalk

Photo: Daniel Barringer

One of my favorites (and Sunny’s too) along the Creek Trail is cardinal flower (Lobelia¬†cardinalis) in an improbably bright shade of red.