It was a bright, sunshine-filled Sunday afternoon when I pulled into the parking lot of Morton Wildlife Refuge in Noyac with my daughter, Angela, from San Francisco. The parking lot was jammed packed with vehicles. I found the only open spot — half in the woods, half out. With my camera and bag of black sunflower seeds at the ready, Angela and I proceeded into the reserve and followed the east trail, the one that takes you to the pond, the large tulip trees, and the state-endangered swamp cottonwoods.
As of Monday, the red flowers of the swamp maples and yellow flowers of the spice bush are out, the wood anemones are about to bloom, and the smooth shads will follow shortly. It was a record cold March and April hasn’t been all that warm, but the native plants are beginning to show their colors.