An early summer morning, with clear blue skies, and temperatures in the mid-sixties. What better time to hike the trails at Matthaei Botanical Gardens?
Off I went this morning to enjoy the quiet solitude of an early morning hike to see birds and catch late summer flowers in bloom.
Matthaei Botanical Gardens
Located on Dixboro Road in northeast Ann Arbor, Michigan, Matthaei Botanical Gardens are owned by the University of Michigan (UM).
When I was a student at UM, I conducted my study of pollen and honeybees at the gardens.
The Botanical Gardens are over 300 acres and include a conservatory, research areas, greenhouses, and nature areas with trails.
While the conservatory and gardens don’t open to the public until 10:00am, the trails are open daily from dawn to dusk.
Birdwatching and Hiking at the Gardens
Late summer may not be one of the best times to go birdwatching at the gardens; birds hide easily behind the tree and shrub foilage. But if you get there early, you’ll catch birds out searching for food for the day.
And you can always spot herons and ducks on the numerous ponds.
As I drove into the gardens, a Wild Turkey lazily made his way on the trail bordering Willow Pond.
I parked my car and gathered my binoculars, camera, and water before heading out on the trails. I only saw two other cars in the parking lot.
Eastern Kingbirds were plentiful, as were Catbirds, American Robins, Chipping Sparrows, and Great Blue Herons. And lots of rabbits.
Gray-headed coneflowers (Ratibida pinnata), a beautiful native Michigan wildflower, could be found everywhere along the trails. New England Asters and Common Chicory were also in bloom.
I caught a glimpse of a Morning Glory hiding in the dark foilage of the shrubs, far back off the trail. The gorgeous delicate Queen Anne’s Lace flowers were blooming everywhere.
Here’s a few more photos of my early morning hike.