Hikers on a newly installed bridge. Kali stands third from left.
Yesterday was the first installment of a year-long series of hikes I'm going to lead called "One Trail Twelve Times." I shamelessly stole this concept from a Cleveland (Ohio) Metroparks naturalist who led hikers on the same trail once a month for 12 months to experience the natural world throughout the seasons.
My group is walking a 0.6-mile trail called the Beech Springs Trail, which features venerable old woodlands, expansive goldenrod meadows, and voluminous springs bubbling up from the ground in a grove of American beeches (hence the trail name).
The trail begins in a beatuiful, mature mixed woodland
Lichens encrusting a white oak trunk
From the woods into the meadows
Goldenrod fly gall produced by the maggot of a peacock fly (Eurosta solidginis [Tephritidae])
Goldenrod moth gall produced by the caterpillar of Epiblema scudderiana
Preying mantis egg case awaiting spring warmth
One of the eponymous beech springs
Water was flowing beneath the ice
A Pileated Woodpecker had been at work on a non-native bird cherry tree trunk, leaving its characteristic rectangular calling card.
We also encountered a Hermit Thrush at the edge of the woods--a rare, but not completely unexpected winter visitor.
Back out into the meadows to complete the circuit.