Monday, February 27, 2012

One Trail Twelve Times - February

An American beech (Fagus grandifolia) that looks like it's bearing the weight of the world.
I wonder why those bulges develop?
I led the the second installment of my "one trail walked 12 times " over the course of a year program a week ago on Sunday afternoon, February 19.  The day was cold (like it was during the January jaunt), but unlike January it was sunny and snowless.
A pine sapling barked by a buck rubbing its antlers
 Emerging from the woods into the meadows (which are bisected by a church's driveway)
Praying mantis (Mantis spp.) egg case on a blackberry cane (Rubus spp.)In looking up the scientific binomial of the the mantis, I learned that there are two mantid species living in the northern and eastern United States, both of which were introduced, one from Europe and one from China (the Chinese mantid is in a different genus!  Native mantids are only found in the southern states.
Shriveled fruit of horse nettle or ground cherry (Solanum carolinense).  When they're ripe, you can make a jelly from the fruits of this native weed in the tomato family (Solanaceae).
You can tell it's been a mild winter: multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) hips are still to be found in February
 Persistent seed heads of a pioneer tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
 Navigating the damp lower end of the meadows before entering the woods
 Hikers on the footbridge spanning the ravine
 Pointing out skunkcabbage emerging from the winter's duff in the spring run
Skunkcabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)
Mossy rocks in the spring run
One of the trail's eponymous springs
Rent asunder by lightning
Assorted vertebrae from a hapless white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginiana)
The final leg of the trail leads through an allee of white pines planted in the 1920s 
I wish that I could devote a bit more time to composing my images, but leading the walk, trying to find and point out interesting natural history features, and taking pictures make photography challenging.


Gail said...

Hi - wonderful pictures of such an amazing hike - I so enjoy tagging along - albeit from here - I enjoy every step, sight, sound, view and find.
Love Gail

Scott said...

Thanks, Gail! Wouldn't it be great if you could join us in person. As a Northeasterner, you'd be right at home, I'm sure, and could show me a few things, too.

John Gray said...

wimple is nun's skirt

Gail said...

HI SCOT - oh yes, I am a New Englander born and raised - and in my day, I could show you some "moves" :-) - I once climbed a mountain while living in Turkey and we encountered a pack of wild dogs and made it safely away.
Love to you

packrat said...

That looks like a pleasant crew assembled on that bridge, Scott; no hooligans to contend with.

Scott said...

Packrat: Walking slowly with a bunch of old people looking at shriveled fruit--the definition of BORING for youngsters--hooligans or not!