Wiley Slough:  Midsummer

I returned to Wiley Slough in the Skagit State Wildlife Recreation Area on Fir Island to see what summer brought to these amazing wetlands.  Recall that visitors can venture out into the marshes using the Spur Dike Trail.  The dike is easily accessed from the Skagit Headquarters Unit managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.  Remember to bring your vehicle permit or Discover Pass.  On my spring visit, I found the wetlands coming alive and greening up.  A pair of Bald Eagles had occupied the nest I had spotted during the winter.

On this visit I found a lush and mature botanical garden.  There was fruiting and flowering everywhere I looked.  In Wiley Slough, Bullfrogs were chanting mantras.  The eagles were still at home.  While I watched them, someone popped up from the nest for a good wing stretch, then settled back down.  The outer trail beyond the dike had become overgrown and was almost impassable.  There were annoying swarms of gnats out there, but I encountered no poisonous plants or stinging insects.  Enjoy this botanical gallery collected on a three-hour visit to the Wiley Slough area wetlands.

Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa pubens)
Red Elderberries are edible but only if cooked.  All of the other plant parts are highly toxic.  Before you eat anything from nature, you should read the book Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer or see the movie with the same name.

Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa pubens)

Coastal Hedgenettle (Stachys chamissonis)

Cow Parsnip (Heracleum lanatum)

Pacific Ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus)

From the Spur Dike Trail Looking South

Black Twinberry (Lonicera involucrata)
Black Twinberry (Lonicera involucrata)
Black Twinberry is a species of Honeysuckle.  Notice that the berries appear in pairs which is the source of its name.  It is also called Bearberry Honeysuckle.

Hardhack (Spirea douglasii douglasii) with Cow Parsnip

Yellow Flag (Iris pseudacorus)
Finding these yellow Iris growing among the Cattails was a real surprise.  They are an introduced species native to Europe and northwest Africa.  They were growing a distance away from the dike, but here is an attempt for a closer photo:

Yellow Flag (Iris pseudacorus)

Baby Rose (Rosa multiflora)
I was puzzled when I first spotted this vining shrub.  It had the leaves of a rose, but the flowers of a blackberry.  Rosa multiflora is another non-native and considered invasive.  It comes from China, Japan and Korea and is also called Japanese Rose and Rambler Rose.  Fragrant.

The Spur Dike Trail Recently Mowed

Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)
Another immigrant flower from Europe and Asia, the Oxeye Daisy likes to grow in grassland and dry, rocky places.  It is considered a noxious weed in agricultural areas.  The bluish, leafy plants at its base are not part of the daisy.  Another invasive non-native from Europe is the Cutleaf or Evergreen Blackberry:

Cutleaf or Evergreen Blackberry (Rubus laciniatus)

Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis)
The Salmonberries here were very tasty and refreshing.  They have a pleasant tartness that lingers in the mouth.

Indian Plum (Oemleria cerasiformis)

Nootka Rose (Rosa nutkana)