Tag Archives: pink lady’s slipper

Flower Hunt on the Main Loop by Maris Van Vlack (RISD Student and MABA Intern)

Wildflowers catch the eye during a walk in the woods; most have a pop of color that stands out against the background of green leaves. Below is a collection of wildflowers that grow along the sides of the Main Loop Trail at MABA. This post is a wildflower timeline, starting at the beginning of June and ending with the flowers that are just beginning to blossom now. 

Pink Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium acaule)

June 10, 2020

6-8” tall

These striking flowers are in the orchid family and are invasive to North America. Unfortunately, they bloom in May and June, so you are unlikely to see them for the rest of this year. 

Canada Mayflower (Maianthemum canadense)

June 11, 2020

3-6” tall

These small white flowers are also out of bloom, but you can still spot the wilting blossoms by the edge of the path in many places along the Main Loop Trail. The leaves are still growing all over the ground (pictured above.)

Multiflora rose (Rosa Multiflora) – Invasive Plant

June 22, 2020

2-4’ off the ground

These flowering shrubs grow along the brook; the white flowers grow in clusters. In the painting above, I filled up a sketchbook page by painting the blossoms and leaves from many different angles. 

Hawkweed (Hieracium)

June 25, 2020

12-30” tall

Not only do these flowers grow on the main loop path by the brook, they are also some of the first flowers you see when you pull into the parking lot, growing along the stone wall! Their bright color contrasts beautifully against the stone.

Swamp Dewberry (Rubus hispidus)

June 25, 2020

4-8” tall

These small white flowers grow all along the Main Loop Trail. I normally see only one or two plants in one place. They often grow amongst lots of other plants. 

Common Selfheal (Prunella Vulgaris)

June 29, 2020

4-6” tall

These are the only purple flowers I have seen so far. They grow very low to the ground.

Whorled Yellow Loosestrife (Lysimachia quadrifolia)

July 1, 2020

12-24” tall

These yellow flowers with red centers are just beginning to bloom in large patches by the trail edges. These plants can be found by the brook and actually produce oil that is collected by some bees (Macropis) that collect oil. Look for their tall stalks, like the one pictured above. 

Round-leaved Wintergreen (Pyrola Rotundifolia)

July 1, 2020

5-9” tall

I saw the first of these flowers recently. It was growing by the edge of the path, hidden in some grass. They can be identified by their downward-facing blossoms.

My name is Maris Van Vlack, and I will be blogging for the summer of 2020! I am a rising sophomore at the Rhode Island School of Design, with a major in Textiles and a concentration in Drawing. I used to take homeschool classes at the Museum of American Bird Art and have had my artwork exhibiting in their Taking Flight Exhibit for young bird artists.

I am especially interested in working with unusual materials in my work, and am inspired by plants, animals, and the patterns found in nature. This summer, I will be creating a guide for the MABA trails with sketches and paintings. I will be recording and writing about my observations, and sharing them through these blog posts. Hopefully this will be an educational and inspiring resource, and will motivate you to sketch what you see when you visit MABA this summer!

Nature Notes for Orchard Cove: May 28, 2020

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Pink Lady’s Slippers are blooming this week and next, especially in pine forests. Enjoy our latest Nature in a Minute blog post about Pink Lady’s Slippers.

Pink Lady’s Slipper Video from the University of Delaware

Lady Slipper Pollination

Enjoy this short video about pollination of lady slipper orchids. The lady slipper’s orchid is native to Europe, but this video shows how bees pollinator a lady slipper orchid and it is very similar to how the pink lady’s slipper is pollinated. If you are out for a walk and see large bumble bees – most likely queen bumblebees – flying around near pink lady slippers, take a few minutes to watch and see if the bumble bee flies into the slipper and has to maneuver out of the top of the orchid, it is a real treat to see this pollination in action.

Nature apps for your phone, tablet, or other device.

A nice article in the Boston Globe about 8 nature phone apps you can use when you go exploring.

Barry Van Dusen’s Blog Post about spring wildflowers, including Yellow lady slippers and other orchids.

High ledges wildlife sanctuary and paintings of yellow lady slippers.

West mountain wildlife sanctuary and paintings of the purple fridge orchis.

Painted Trillium at High Ledges Wildlife sanctuary.

Barry Van Dusen’s visit to Cook’s Canyon Wildlife Sanctuary, in Barre on July 11, and his painting of the Yellow blue-bead lily (Clintonia).

Green Frog Call

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Hi everybody, each week I (Sean Kent – MABA’s education and camp director) deliver a live online illustrated lecture called Nature Notes for the residents of Orchard Cove in Canton. I love nature and am infinitely curious with what is going on natural world. I am an educator, naturalist, accomplished landscape and wildlife photographer, and field biologist with expertise in native bee biology, species interactions, and ecology in general.

This post contains additional resources that correspond with the lecture, but might also be of interest to readers of Taking Flight in addition to the residents of Orchard Cove. Please contact me ([email protected]) if you or your organization/residence might be interested in live online illustrated lectures, including lectures on The Secret Life of Backyard Birds and Native Bees and other Pollinators. Be well and safe.

Nature in a Minute: What’s blooming at MABA

You can find a few Pink Lady’s slippers along the Main Loop trail at the Museum of American Bird Art. 

Pink Lady’s Slipper  Cypripedium acaule

Pink Lady’s slippers are large and showy.  The Latin species name acaule means “stem less” referring to the leafless flower stem. The two large leaves grow from the base of the plant. Pink Lady’s slippers are in the Orchid family of plants. 

These plants require a special fungus in the soil to supply nutrients. The flower and fungus have a mutually beneficial interaction called symbiosis. Bees pollinate Pick Lady’s slippers. They are attracted by the color and sweet scent. 

Julianne Mehegan at Arches NP

Our guest blogger, Julianne Mehegan, is a wonderful friend of MABA, a birder and a naturalist.

Blooming slippers, climbing fishers, swooping swallows, and more

Natural History Notes for May & June

Although we are tucked right into the heart of suburban Canton, amazing natural history moments, capable of inspiring awe and wonder, pop up everyday on our wildlife sanctuary. The sanctuary has been bursting with life and activity over the past two month and here are a few of the highlights.

First ever sighting of a fisher (Martes pennanti)

During our spring Ecology and Art homeschool class, our students were lucky enough to witness three fishers sauntering through the forest and then bounding up several trees. It was a spectacular sighting.

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A wave of migrating birds

This spring Owen Cunningham, our property manager, and Sean Kent started a series of Friday morning natural history hikes that coincided with a fantastic wave of migrants, including many warblers.

Magnolia Warbler

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Yellow-billed Cuckoo


Wilson’s Warbler

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Birds have been busy building nests and caring for their fledglings

We have several pairs of nesting orioles, including one pair that has nested in the trees behind our bird blind, and their babies have recently fledged. During the last week of June, the Mulberry tree by our offices has produced copious amounts of ripe fruits that have been fattening up many species of birds on the sanctuary.

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Nesting Tree Swallows

This spring we have been lucky to host several pairs of nesting tree swallows. It’s been marvelous to witness the tree swallows raise their young, defend their nests against house wren intrusion, and grace the meadow with their majestic flight.

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Pink Lady’s Slipper

Every spring, starting in the middle of May and extending to early June, pink lady’s slippers, a majestic orchid, that thrives in acidic soils of our pine forest, emerge and bloom throughout the sanctuary.

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Hunting Hawks

The populations of chipmunks, red squirrels, and lots of other little critters have exploded thanks to a super abundant crop of acorns this past fall.


Red-tailed Hawk

Flowering plants in our meadow, bird garden,
and new native pollinator garden

Pollinators, including many native bees, have been taking advantage of all the species of flowering plants that have been blooming on our sanctuary. False indigo (Baptista australis) bloomed in early June and had many species of butterflies, bumblebees, leaf cutting bees, and mining bees collecting pollen and nectar from the flowers. Check out two videos of a bumblebee collecting pollen and nectar from a few flowers.


False indigo from the bird garden at the Museum of American Bird Art


Skipper gathering nectar from a False Indigo flower

Skipper gathering nectar from a False Indigo flower