Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hello Winter, Goodbye Connecticut (for now)

It may be the first day of winter, but it was positively balmy this morning (50 degrees!), so I decided to grab my last chance to visit the Naugatuck State Forest for the year -- we're leaving Connecticut today and I won't be back again until it's 2012.

The light, when I arrived at the woods, was gorgeous, with the sun just peeking over the tops of the trees and lighting up so many colors that it almost looked like fall again:

The banks of the lake were as pretty as ever, all yellow-purple-brown and conifer green:

The ducks are slowly passing through these lakes now. I only rarely see waterfowl here in the warmer months, but on Tuesday I saw a Hooded Merganser, and today a Common Merganser, diving for fish. This handsome group of Mallards (neatly paired off, boy-girl-boy-girl) flew off to another part of the lake right after I took this picture:

The woods were -- as always -- filled with interesting things to see. I love how this clubmoss (Diphasiastrum digitatum, I think) trails over the side of its slope, reaching for the path:

This fantastically orange-fungus-covered tree practically shone in the leafless woods:

Here's a fallen branch that looks to be covered with the same kind of fungus (or is it possibly a lichen?):

The other people who walk these woods seem to be getting increasingly creative with their balanced stone structures -- it's so cool to come across things like this:

Finally, this tiny bird's nest was secured a few feet above my head in a young tree:

I don't know what sort of bird once inhabited this nest, but it must've been quite a small one. And it did such a good job making this lovely little sphere.

This afternoon, Paul and I will start our holiday migration down the East Coast, first to New Jersey, then to Maryland, and this year, I'm continuing on to New Orleans with my family. I'm hoping there will be some outdoors time on the trip -- I've never been to Louisiana before, and I'm excited to see new things! There may be some interesting posts about exotic locales in the future, but for now, enjoy the holiday season, everyone!

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