Friday, April 16, 2010

Flower Bowl

Most birders have had a mountain-top experience while birding. You know, the kind where you see more cool birds than you've ever seen before, and you jump up and down in excitement. Well, I do that any way...Today I had one of those experiences, but with wildflowers!
Raven Run Nature Sanctuary contains over 700 acres on the palisades of the Kentucky River, operated by Lexington, Ky, Parks and Recreation in Fayette County. Most importantly, more wildflowers grow there than I have ever, ever, EVER seen in one spot in my life!! The Phlox have a fragrance similar to lilacs, so the entire trail smelled just wonderful. I have got to get Tavia the Flower Woman here before they finish blooming.
I suppose that this area has not been farmed or timbered for a long time, to have this many flowers and so few invasives. Is this what it looked like when the pioneers arrived? How spectacular! At the top of the hill, the trail went along more open fields, and the now familiar invasives started taking over again, to our dismay.
One spot is called the Flower Bowl, and wildflowers grow up and down the hillside for at least half a mile. Double click this photo to enlarge it and see how many different species of flowers you can find. I don't have any answer, and there's no prize for the highest number. Just give it a try and have fun!
One spot on the trail overlooks the palisades on the Kentucky River. Despite my fear of heights, we went out to the edge, and I found a Columbine in full bloom, hanging over the edge of the rocks. Straddling a convenient tree which also hung over the edge, I braced myself to lean over for a picture.
We also found huge ammonite fossils. The entire area of the Bluegrass in central Kentucky is known as the Cincinnati Arch to geologists and rock hounds. A strata of Ordovincian rock, far older than those at the Falls of the Ohio, has uplifted into visibility, so really old, ancient fossils are easy to find.
We picked up a list of wildflowers that bloom from February to April, and saw and identified 32 of 41 wildflowers, not including the non-native plants and leaves of those already finished blooming! I haven't started a life list for wildflowers yet, but maybe this is the time to begin!
I'm used to primarily white or yellow wildflowers in the spring, but these blue and purple flowers just blew me away!

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