Pine fireworks (enlarge for more dramatic effect)
The weather was absolutely perfect for May's installment of the One Trail Twelve Times trek, with mostly sunny skies, a light refreshing breeze, and temperatures in the mid-70s (F). This year-long series of monthly walks along the Beech Springs Trail has been a bit of a disappointment because I have not developed the "following" of dedicated participants that I had hoped the series would attract, and those who do join me seem more intent on a quick excursion rather than the quiet immersion in the natural world that I had hoped to encourage. Hardly anyone totes a camera, let alone binoculars or a sketch book. Kali agreed that last Sunday's walk was the least satisfying to date, with only two participants, both of whom were new, and neither of whom were particularly interactive. Did they enjoy themselves? We couldn't tell.
Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) with a developing "apple."
A squirrel likely will have snagged this tasty fruit by the time I return in June.
|Green and gray bracket fungi on a downed branch|
Non-native multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) blooming about two weeks earlier this year, at the wood's edge
The Beech Springs Trail begins in a mature woodland, emerges into sunny old-fields that are reverting to a thicket, enters a second mature woodland that surrounds the eponymous springs, and then ends in an old-field bordered by an allee of old white pine trees (Pinus strobus). There are myriad habitats to enjoy along the way--the main reason I singled-out this trail.
Blackberries (Rubus spp.) along the woods-field edge
Probably Common Hawkweed (Hieracium vulgatum), a beautiful but non-native ruderal species
Another non-native, Oxeye Daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum), hosting a native bee
|A native rose (Rosa spp.)|
A Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium spp.), of which there are at least 5 species in the eastern US.
This plant, of course, is not a grass at all, but a member of the Iris family.
A Ladybird Beetle (Coccinellidae) exploring a blade of Deer-tongue Grass (Panicum clandestinum)
Tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera) blossom
A Tuliptree petal fallen to the forest floor
From the woods back into the sun