Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Always Something Interesting

Yes indeed, there’s always something interesting to see in the great outdoors.

On a mostly cloudy morning I went for a walk in a nearby woodland. It was a slow, lazy walk that afforded an opportunity to look around. This was a woodland inhabited by deer, bear, wild turkey, bobcat, fisher, eastern coyote, and a host of songbirds – hopefully there would be one or more of them available for an intrepid photographer.

Other than a few tree-top songbirds, only one of those photogenic creatures was ever in view. But there are always interesting things to see: First was an abundance of wild geraniums growing along the old road on which I walked. Wild geranium flowers are often an interesting reddish-blue, not really purple, that most digital cameras have difficulty capturing.

Further along was a small adventitious sprout on the trunk of a tulip-poplar. All broadleaved trees have, beneath their bark, adventitious buds that usually remain dormant but often become active when a tree is under stress. I thought the two little leaves on this sprout were photogenic –

In a sunny spot a number of small butterflies were flying and repeatedly landing on a sun-heated log to warm their flight muscles. They were all of the same species, one of a large group of generally drab, difficult to identify, butterflies called skippers –

This woodland has several groves of hickory trees whose nuts attract squirrels, black bears and wild turkeys in fall, but this was late spring, not fall, so none of those were present. But, the leaves of a small shagbark hickory were inhabited by the larvae of a gall midge (a type of fly), each larva produced a small round gall on the leaves –

The old road on which I was walking also passes through a stand of eastern hemlock, many of which have died in the last few years. One of the fallen hemlocks was being broken down by the fungus usually called varnish conk for its shiny appearance. What would the world be like without the decomposers?

On that conk was a beetle, one of a small group known as pleasing fungus beetles, all of which are brightly colored in orange and black and feed on a variety of fungi, especially mushrooms.

There are several small grassy openings in this woodland. As I walked past one of those, about 200 feet away a white-tail doe was feeding. She was remarkably calm, seeming to pay no attention to a human from which she would have fled mere weeks ago. Her apparent calm may well have been a bluff – this was birthing time for white tailed deer and the does like to hide their new-born fawns in grassy fields. It was better to enjoy the sight of the doe and not search for the fawn –

Beneath a clump of small beech trees was a group of squawroot in bloom. Squawroot is a flowering plant that lacks chlorophyll and so cannot produce its own sugars, instead it’s a parasite on oak and beech trees. Black bears frequently eat squawroot flowers, so the plant is sometimes called bear corn or bear cones. Most of the plant is underground, the flowering stalks appear above ground in late spring when the plant blooms –

Something dangling from a branch over the old road caught my eye. It was out of reach but my alpenstock easily caught the silken thread which held it in mid-air and brought it within reach. What was it? Lo and behold, it was a pair of jumping spiders –

One of the many small blue butterflies that frequent spring woodlands is the eastern tailed blue. And tailed it is, not like the gaudy tiger swallowtail that also frequents spring woodlands, but with smaller discrete tails on its smaller, less conspicuous self –

And thus endith a morning walk in the woods – see, there’s always something interesting.


The Furry Gnome said...

When you mention bear, bobcat and fisher that definitely sounds like a northern forest to me.

Tanza Erlambang said...

first photo of flower and the last photo of butterfly are so attractive for me.
Got knowledge by reading your descriptions.

Have a great day

Barbara Rogers said...

Good to see all that you shared...especially mamma deer.

Pia said...

Ich bin jetzt gerne mit auf dem morgendlichen Spaziergang mitgegangen. Interessanter Beitrag und schöne Bilder.
L G Pia

eileeninmd said...


Great nature scenes and photos. Cool captures of the insects and I love the last little butterfly. I have seen the Bear Corn, I did not know what it was. Now thanks to you I know the it's Squawroot. Pretty deer!
Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Enjoy your day, have a happy weekend.

Anu said...

Hello. Lovely post. Photos are wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

Adam Jones said...

What a wonderful array of wildlife. Fantastic pictures.

Lady Fi said...

So lovely!