Monday, May 27, 2013

High Spring in the Woods

After our recent stretch of chilly and rainy weather, I was more than happy to take advantage of today's gorgeous sunny skies for my first woods walk in far too long. (My weekly trips to the beach are great, too, but I miss the woods.) Osbornedale State Park has a lovely mix of forests, fields, and ponds, which was just what I wanted this morning, so off I went!

Most of the animal activity (as usual) centered around the ponds and fields. Red-winged Blackbirds popped up to scold at me as I walked along the path near the ponds:

Canada Geese milled around, with a single quickly-growing chick in tow:

When I was last at this park a month ago, I saw a few geese sitting on nests.... I wonder what happened to all those families.

This Canada Goose was nice enough to let a Painted Turtle share its rock (or maybe it's the other way around):

And even though I get to see Great Egrets all the time now at the beach, it was a treat to see one stalking through a freshwater pond, surrounded by pretty Yellow Pond Lily blooms:

The fields were buzzing (literally) with flying insects. This large fuzzy fly (I'm not sure what species) chased another fly around and then sat and cleaned itself on a leaf:

And there were butterflies everywhere, big and small, including this Silver-spotted Skipper:

And a very impressive Spicebush Swallowtail, its black and blue wings standing out against the pale Dame's Rocket blossoms where it was feeding:

I even stopped to notice a new (for me) wildflower in the fields, the appropriately-named Tower Mustard (Arabis glabra), its tiny pale yellow flowers at the very top of tall purplish blue stalks:

This plant is apparently common in much of North America (and other continents), and I'm glad I finally noticed it. The leaves and stalks are striking, and the mustard-y flowers are quite pretty close up:

In the woods, everything was lush and cool. (Have I mentioned that I love the woods?) The trees have completely leafed out, so most of the ground was shaded except for a few spots of sun. These ferns were making some very pretty shadows in their sunny patch on the forest floor:

I'm always amazed at how well some plants are able to grow in the forest even with so little light. The Canada Mayflowers were still opening a few dainty white blooms (although most of these plants I saw were finishing blooming by now):

Round-leaved Pyrola was sending up stalks studded with flower buds:

And several tall False Hellebore (Veratrum viride) plants were making a stunning display along a stream bank, with cascades of flowers that are actually easy to miss because their light green color blends in so well with the rest of the forest:

I've seen these big-leaved plants in previous years growing among Skunk Cabbages, but this is the first time I've actually seen them in flower. Close up, the flowers are especially cool looking, and I think that green is extraordinarily pretty:

It was certainly a great visit. I would spend every day in the woods if I could!


  1. Lovely! You certainly captured the essence of a woodland walk with your splendid photographs.

  2. Funny - up here the Canada mayflower hasn't even started to bloom yet!