After nearly two weeks away, I was feeling some serious woods withdrawal when I made a trip back to Naugatuck State Forest yesterday morning. Ah, spring in the woods!
It was a little chilly when I arrived, and many of the wildflowers that I had been looking forward to seeing were still closed, but there were still plenty of blooms around. These tiny Dwarf Ginseng flowers made puffy umbrellas a couple of inches above the forest floor:
The Wild Strawberries were blossoming on a sunny bank:
And a little Jack-in-the-Pulpit flower was taking shape (before this plant and its neighbors had even unfurled their leaves):
These lovely little violets were growing in clumps in the marshy areas and along the path. I think I identified them as Small White Violets (Viola macloskeyi) when I found them here last year, but I'm happy to be corrected if I'm wrong! (Violets are tricky.)
The blooms on this small bush look an awful lot like Serviceberry (a.k.a. Juneberry, Shadbush, etc.), but I feel like I would've noticed if there were Serviceberries here (and munched on them) last summer. I love Serviceberries. Is this something else, instead, or could I have just missed the berries last year?
The Trout Lilies weren't quite ready to open their petals yet, but the closed flowers were quite pretty nonetheless:
And the Mayapples were sprouting up, building their own mini forest -- I think I see some buds on that one on the left!
Next to the Mayapples, a couple of Red Trilliums were nodding their green buds, not quite ready to open yet. I think these are some of the prettiest flowers ever (that color!), so I'll be eagerly watching for their arrival.
There was quite a bit of bird activity in the woods as well, especially on the lakes. A pair of Common Mergansers was vying for space with a pair of Mallards on the smaller lake, and I watched the Merganser drake chasing the Mallard drake. (I think it looks like the Mallard is sticking his tongue out at the Merganser in this picture. Boys!)
Once the Mallards had moved on, the Merganser pair sailed around for a bit, enjoying their territory:
But of course they flew off to another lake soon afterwards. (Why were you chasing the other ducks off, if you were just going to leave anyway?)
And I happened across something I haven't seen at these woods before -- a Canada Goose on her nest:
She's trying so hard not to be seen, with her neck all flattened down like that. And it worked pretty well, too -- I was standing there for several minutes before I noticed her at all. I wonder if there will be babies on this lake in a few weeks....