My friend Megan was visiting today, and we've had such fun exploring the woods together before, we decided that a woods walk was in order. I hadn't been to the lakes at Naugatuck State Forest in quite a while, and there's always something cool to see there, so off we went!
But when we got to the forest, we saw several cars parked at the entrance, more than I'm used to seeing on a weekday morning. And when we actually walked into the forest, we saw even more cars... and cranes... and porta-potties... and trailers.... The whole area, which is usually very quiet, was filled with whirring engines and bustling people, and we were quite confused! As it turns out, they're filming a horror flick about a giant person-eating fish right on these lakes -- seriously! -- and they'll probably be at it for a while yet. Well, how about that. It's a pretty crazy and interesting thing to be happening, but not exactly conducive to nature-viewing!
Thus dissuaded from our original goal, but not disheartened, we changed plans and drove off to the other end of the forest, where the meadows were filled with wildlife and, critically, empty of camera crews.
It turned out to be pretty much the perfect day for a walk. We watched lots of birds foraging in the trees, including this lovely little Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, who was fluttering up and down after insects and flashing the white feathers in its long tail:
I got to show Megan the Nodding Ladies'-tresses that I first found blooming here last year -- whose dainty blooms we admired on hands and knees -- and Megan sniffed out (literally, by scent!) some wild grapes for us to munch on. (Mmmm!)
A few sights were new to both of us, like this dark purple mushroom (possibly Cortinarius iodes) hiding in the underbrush:
And these bright and cheery Purple-headed Sneezeweed blooms (Helenium flexuosum):
Dragonflies of all sizes coursed over the meadows, Chimney Swifts flew in circles over our heads, and we watched a pair of American Copper butterflies flying close together to land on a plant to snuggle (will there be American Copper caterpillars arriving soon?):
So even though we didn't end up where we thought we would, an enjoyable time was had by all. I love showing off the wonderful places around here, and it's always fun sharing these things with friends. :)