Monday, April 25, 2011

Red and more red, and a baby owl update

Today was the day of red things in the woods! Here's red thing number one:

Well, more of a bright, blazing orange, really. It's a Red Eft! I haven't seen one of these guys since I lived in New York, something like 13 years ago, and oh, how I have missed them. Love, love, love! Red Efts are actually the juvenile forms of Red-spotted Newts, which I've already seen in these lakes. Newts have three completely separate life stages -- a larval stage where they have gills and live underwater (think tadpoles, but with legs), a juvenile stage where they have lungs and live completely on land (the eft), and then an adult stage when they live in the water again -- how cool is that?

Red Efts are so awesome. Carry on, little fellow!

Red thing number two is this Red Trillium (also called Wake-robin, Trillium erectum):

A bunch of these plants were blooming scattered throughout the forest -- what a glorious color! I actually don't know if I've ever seen a more perfect flower. (Don't mind my fingers in this next picture.)

I have one more story from today's adventure in the woods. When I went to check on the Great Horned Owl family, I looked up into their tree to find that the nest was completely gone -- no sticks, and no sign at all that there was a nest there as recently as three days ago. I probably don't need to say that I was a little freaked out, and quite a bit concerned. It took me a minute or so to work up the courage to go explore below the tree to see if I could find out what happened... I was afraid of finding a collapsed nest and a dead baby down there....

But I did go look, and while I didn't find anything on the ground (besides many, many owl droppings), the change of location got me to look up into the tree again from a different angle, and there was the baby, safe and sound.

I still don't know what happened to the nest, but it looks like the baby's big enough to not really need one anyway. (OMG, and I still can't get over the cuteness.)

So all is well, and crisis averted. It was a good day. :)

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