A Spontaneous Walk Through MacKay Wild Life Preserve (Caledonia, NY)

Today, I went for a drive to pick-up medicine (and, caffeine – lol). I was hoping to discover a trail to walk on my way back home from the store. So, I packed my camera and dressed warm. I stumbled upon this gem – MacKay Wild Life Preserve – in Caledonia, NY.

The entrance to the trail had daffodils in bloom. Daffodils seem to be the first spring flower to appear in Upstate NY. I am not sick of them yet. They are so perky and beautiful! I love the variety of colors blooming.

Among the daffodils, there was one lone summer snowflake (leucojum). This flower reminds me of my aunt Kay. She has a huge, beautiful ground covering of these behind her cottage at Silver Lake (NY). Here there was just a single bloom. I enjoyed looking it all over – the way the bloom dangled down, the pretty green spots perfectly spaced along the edges of the white petal. Also, seeing the half bloom, starting to grow behind the full one. And, the small, shiny pod tucked up higher in the stem (soon to be a third bloom). I love observing all of the details – this is mindfulness meditation for me. Taking it all in!

A pathway to a field stone wall had plentiful rocks and slate, covered in enchanting moss. It was very magical.

I also saw remarkable mushrooms along the sides of the path. The two photos below are of puff balls on a log. (One is a long view and one is close-up.)

These are turkey tail mushrooms. I usually see brown or gray turkey tails. These ones had a striking green hue.

I don’t know if these are mushrooms (below)? They could be a plant, or a fungus. I am not sure? There is a mushroom called Stinkhorns (also called devils fingers or dead man’s fingers). So, if you know the identification of this – please comment below. I would love to know. I just know they looked super neat!

I also saw three butterflies on my walk today. (I was not expecting to see butterflies this early in the season!)

The first I saw was a beautiful comma butterfly. It was small, but very bright orange with brown accents. I followed it for a bit, but was not able to catch up to it. I still enjoyed seeing it very, very much! Most times memories are just as special as a photo. It was breathtaking to see the bright orange flying by in April. Nice surprise!

The second that I saw was this teenie-tiny Eastern-tailed blue butterfly. It was so small, I thought it was a moth first. But, when it landed and I got a close-up look, it was sweet.

The last butterfly that I saw was a mourning cloak. It was very hard to get a photo of this butterfly, because it blended so well with the dead fall leaves that are still covering the trail. When it flew, it was gorgeous. But, on the leaves, it camouflaged perfectly. I’ll post the photo anyway. It doesn’t need to be perfect to appreciate. If you look closely in the middle of the photo, you will see the dark body, blue spots with a cream colored outline on the outermost part of its wings.

With its wings partially closed, you could hardly see it at all. I wouldn’t have noticed it, if I hadn’t seen it fly by first. The wind was making the leaves rustle, so the soft flutter of the mourning cloaks wings was hardly noticeable. Had it been on a flower or rock, the photo would have been more clear. But, the experience of seeing it was precious.

The staircases throughout the trail were also very pretty.

On the way back to my car, I saw a brightly colored snail, clinging to a rock.

Today’s spontaneous walk, to a new trail that I had never been to before, was very special and fun. I was blessed to see so many gorgeous sites. It was meditative and beneficial for my health. Thank you, MacKay Wildlife Preserve. I really enjoyed your nature trail!

I can’t wait for my walk tomorrow. I wonder where my car, camera and feet will take me? The weather is supposed to be even better than today. I am so glad spring is here. It is excellent therapy for my spirit!

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