One of my favorite things to do is explore waterways, especially wetlands. And I get paid to do this when I lead guided paddles of Rich Lake as part of my job!
Yesterday was my first paddle of the season, the earliest I've been out on Rich Lake. Many of the plants that I usually encounter as blooming on this trip were nowhere near putting out blossoms yet. Still, we found some interesting plants up in the wetland at the western end of the lake: gentians (we were too far away to determine if they were bottle or narrow-leaved), fragrant water lily (Nymphaea odorata), spatterdock (Nuphar variegatum), and bittersweet/deadly nighthade (Solanum dolcamara). The latter was a surprise - I've never encountered this nightshade in a wetland before, so it came as a bit of a shock to find it here.
Plenty of birds were singing, and the redwings were flying all around, in and out of the tall marshy plants, no doubt guarding their territories and feeding. Winter wrens, vireos and cedar waxwings all made their presence known along the shores of the lake.
The highlight for the paddlers was no doubt the sighting of a group of three adult loons.
Other plants now blooming along the roads and elsewhere: chickory (Cichorium intybus), white sweet clover (Melilotus alba), bedstraw (Galium spp. - I will have to key it out to determine the species), and spreading dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium).