May is winding down too fast and life is just too busy, except for these words to share what I've been observing. We had two weeks of wet weather and finally have had a break to see the sun and warm up a bit. The plants have been emerging and changing on a daily basis. Tadpoles are changing and growing legs, though I haven't had time to check on them. There is a succession of blooming plants, and some have already made a statement and are making seeds. Others are arising to take their place, some with rather spectacular blossoms such as the shrub, Rhodora, that likes its roots in wet areas. The flowers come out before the foliage which is always an interesting observation.

Gay Wings, or Fringed Polygala, are out in full force, looking mostly like a flying airplane. This flower strongly suggests that it is an orchid, but it is not. The Pink Ladyslippers are up, especially along the Center Pond trail, and they are orchids. What makes it an orchid, you might ask. It has to do with the veination on the leaves, not necessarily the shape of the flowers. We do have several other orchids that grow in Phippsburg, but most have spikes of multiple flowers in different colors.

Nature certainly had an imagination in the creation of a Columbine! Maybe it is to attract an insect's attention, but it sure attracts mine! We have some of these growing on the shoreline at the campground, and you may have been lucky to have seen it. This one was blooming on the shoreline of Totman Cove.

I was fortunate enough to share a Vernal Pool field trip with local 5th graders from the Phippsburg school recently. We found lots of salamanders, but the only official indication of a vernal pool to be found was a Wood Frog as you see here. These are among the first frogs to announce "It is spring!" with a quacking sound that almost makes you think of a duck. Once they have mated and laid egg masses, the tadpoles emerge and grow to the look like this one. They have a distinctive black patch that runs under the eye, almost like a mask. From here on into the fall, you may run across them on walks in the woods!

Again, the ferns have been unrolling like there is no tomorrow. Here is an Interrupted Fern, so called because the leaflets are interrupted by the spore producers which are darker and thicker as you see in this picture. The fern, if not producing spores is easily confused with a Cinnamon Fern, again if that one is does not have the stalk of spores, the color of that spice.

I wish all of you a glorious holiday weekend. 5/26/11 Ronnie with blooms!