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Fall colours come to life in Silver Springs

Posted: September 30, 2020

 
Fall colours come to life in Silver Springs

 
      

Jensen Glover is a life-long resident of East St. Paul. The 18-year-old graduated from River East Collegiate this year and will attend U of W for communications in the fall. She is a volunteer on the RM’s Climate Change Adaptation Advisory Committee and calls it a "unique volunteer opportunity that combines my interest in communication with my passion for the environment”. Jensen will be writing a series of articles about Silver Springs Park, which has been an extension of her family’s back yard for most of her life. She’s always been interested in the park environment and now, thanks in part to her role on the committee, she says her horizons have been expanded. This is her second article, and Jensen guides us as the park’s summer beauty morphs into a fall full of delightful surprises.


As we approach the end of summer and move towards fall the scenery of Silver Springs Park is changing. Instead of the daisies, wild roses and buttercups that greet the summer, Goldenrod and Bigleaf aster joins the mix of clover, alfalfa and Birds Foot Trefoil as the summer gives way to autumn.

Of these flowers, Goldenrod is one of my personal favourites. It’s a pretty plant, tall and topped with a point formed by the golden yellow flowers that gave Goldenrod its name. Years ago, I found out the young flowers of this plant could be eaten. I was eager to try some, and easily found several Goldenrod plants in Silver Springs Park. I managed to choke down about a mouthful of the flowers, and found it disgusting. A disappointment, given my hopes the flowers would somehow taste as good as they look.

Another flower that blooms around this time of year is Purple loosestrife. It is a pretty flower, growing in tall clusters topped with a pinkish purple sprig of flowers. It is rather beautiful, but unfortunately invasive. Given the chance, this plant would outcompete other species in the area. Over the years the province has released Purple loosestrife beetles as one way of mitigating the problem. I have seen evidence of some of the insects at work, but it’s not a perfect solution. One way we can help solve this problem is to uproot younger plants, or, if uprooting the plant is not an option, carefully cutting off the young flowers to slow the spread of seeds could be of some help. I try to do this when I am on my walks in the park.

It’s nice to know we humans are not the only ones enjoying these flowers. On my daily walks, I have also noticed several snails, and many more frogs and toads than I have spotted other years. The snails are probably enjoying the feast of new plant growth, and no doubt the frogs and toads are benefiting from the increased insect activity and new places to explore and take shelter.

This year has also seemed to be a good year for what I believe to be Bank Swallows, a threatened species of swallows that make their nests in steep cliff faces. Though Bank Swallows may not make their nests in Silver Springs Park, this seems to be a valuable feeding ground for the birds. I have seen them darting around in the sky, looping and diving in a beautiful aerobatic show that must be them on the hunt.

I have also seen painted turtles resting peacefully on the shores. The turtles are skittish creatures, and usually drop back into the water with ease when they sense me coming, but I always enjoy seeing them for the few seconds they’ll allow me.

I enjoy my morning walks, and plan to continue observing the park as fall truly sets in and paints the scenery with its vibrant colours. Soon we will see yet more new flowers join the mix, and the geese return as they embark on their migration.



Pictures:
  • Ducks swim in Silver Springs Park earlier this summer before the fall changes arrived.
  • Jensen Glover


 

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