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!