Wednesday, June 16, 2021

A Morning in the Big Woods

On a beautiful morning in early June (clear as a bell, blue sky with a few fleecy white clouds, a gentle breeze) I headed for the Big Woods to change the batteries and memory cards in a couple of camera traps. Not far along the old road on which I was walking a cottontail rabbit crouched in the grass –

At the same time, in the distance a white-tailed deer browsed on a shrub’s fresh green leaves and began to walk away as I got closer. It turned out to be a young buck –

After walking a couple of hundred yards along the old road something off to the side caught my eye. That something was another white-tail buck, this one with large wide-spreading antlers –

Not far beyond it was time to leave the old road and head into the woods. Recent rains had brought forth a number of fungi fruiting bodies –

Jelly-leaf Fungus

Conifer Polypore

Beefsteak Polypore

Walking on, something jumped next to my boot. At first I saw nothing, but a closer look revealed a small wood frog well camouflaged among the fallen leaves. Can you find it?

There it is –

And up close –

At this time of year the haircap mosses are getting ready to release their spores –

There aren't many openings in the Big Woods, but there are a few. On the far side of one the larger of those old fields stood a white-tail doe with her fawn, the first fawn I’d actually seen this year. The doe was the piebald female that my camera traps have captured many time over the last several years. Because of the distance it's a really poor photo but ... –

Arriving at the camera trap, it was easy to see that the camera trap showed signs of a “bear attack”. Black bears are exceptionally curious and intelligent; in the Big Woods it’s seldom that a bear passes a camera trap without messing with it. However, in other areas that never happens – which has led me to believe that it may be a learned behavior, passed from a female to her offspring –

Learned or not, my camera traps are often askew and when the memory cards’ contents are reviewed there are images of a bear or bears.

As noon approached it was time to head home for lunch and then to mow the grass – I’d rather shovel snow than mow grass, but that’s another story.

While I was mowing a strange “thing” flew past. A closer look revealed the thing was a mating pair of bee-like robber flies, a species that closely resembles a bumblebee but cannot sting –

Quite a morning with the afternoon bonus of the robber flies.



Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Wow, nice photos.
The rabbit is as beautiful as any artwork by Durer.
The frog...I found several, including the maybe real one. I was looking for a face portrait instead of full body frog. You have good eyesight.

R's Rue said...

Beautiful photos.

The Furry Gnome said...

Interesting photos and video today! Love that first fungi, the camouflaged Wood Frog, and those robber flies. Don't think I've ever seen robber flies.

eileeninmd said...

Love the deer and bunny. The Robber fly is a neat insect.
Awesome captures of the bear and cub! Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend!

Shiju Sugunan said...

Beautiful photos! I wonder how you spotted that camouflaged frog.

Rain said...

Hi Woody :) Such beautiful photos and boy did you stump me with the wood frog! I looked, zoomed in...could NOT find it even when you initially pointed it out so thanks for the extra close-up shot! How wonderful to have captured the bears on film...I love that video!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

The small deer is so precious. And I had to look again for the frog too. You take the best photos and videos!

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Wow! So many wonderful woodland experiences in a single walk! And what a capture on your camera, that mama bear and her cub. Hope the camera did not sustain too much damage!