Monday, October 19, 2009

After the rain

Finally after three days of non stop drizzle and rain the sky cleared, and I felt like I had just been released from some sort of military water torture…drip, drip, drip. I was anxious to get outside even thought it was only in the upper 40’s and should have been much warmer this time of year. About half of the trees are still green so this cold weather seems really odd. I decided to go to the nearby Blue Ridge Tract just a little further up the ridge from my home.

After all that rain everything was still dripping and the mosses were just having a ball. They were bright green and sprouting seed capsules like crazy. I found three different ones right off the bat. I’m still working on their identification.

Atrichum angustatum

These little cup lichens seemed to be heralding the sunny day ahead.

This carpet of foliose lichen was especially lush.

About mid-way down the hill toward the wetland area there is a tree that fell across the path and has now been cut so the path is clear. That dead tree always delivers with interesting things. One year it sported Oyster Mushrooms and today I found a jelly mold

and some turkey tail fungi (Trameltes versicolor). I read online that these leathery polypores have a substance called Polysaccharide-K which is used as an immune system booster in the treatment of cancer in some European countries, as well as China and Japan. Imagine that! Perhaps the cure to cancer is found right here in the Appalachian Mountains. If we don’t stop blowing off the mountain tops for coal we may never know.

I really liked the way the sun shone through theses turkey tails when I looked at it from the bottom.

I pulled a little of the bark off and found two teeny tiny snails and this small flat beetle.

Flat Bark Beetle (Adelina pallida)

When I reached the wetland area it was quiet until I flushed a small flock of White Throated Sparrows. They were the first I had seen this year. Most of the ferns have turned orange and yellow but the Christmas ferns are still a dark green.

Up in the meadow I found some nice thistle, and another burr type plant that was determined to stick to me as I took photos.

Most of the milkweed had dispersed their seeds but there were still a few reluctant to let go.

I was surprised to see this one thistle plant still in flower. They belong to the Family Asteraceae and are spiny to protect against herbivorous animals from munching on them.

At the base of a nearby stump I found these eggs. I think they are snake eggs but I am not certain. They were soft and rubbery after all the rain.

Leaving the meadow I searched for birds nests because I had found them in this one spot before and sure enough there was one. This year I think it was a Cardinal nest; in the past the nest was smaller and more compact. It is a prime spot next to the meadow and hidden safely in the multi-flora rose.

Usually on the way back to the car I don’t see many new things but this white blotch on a small stem really popped out at me. Moving closer to investigate I saw that it was wooly aphids. The white stuff is really wax that the aphids make to shield them from predators as well as keeping them moist and warm.

Some people say to me, “How do you find these things?” Well, my answer is that we all see odd things but most people don’t bother to investigate them. It is so easy to just walk on by and not stop to look. But if you do you are most certain to be rewarded with something you have never seen before, even if it is a bit yucky.

See others adventures at My World Tuesday.


Erin said...

fascinating things you find on your walks...the lichen, the moss sprouting, the mold. great captures each and every one.
have a wonderful week.

Sylvia K said...

Your photos are marvelous! And you do see more than I think a lot of us do -- and thereby we miss a lot of the "tiny" beauties in the world. Another disadvantage to living in an "always on the go" world these days. Thankfully, there are people like you who take the time to look and to see and to share! Thank you!

Have a great week, Squirrel!


Martina said...

The photos in this post are amazing (I really love the cup lichens, have never seen them before) and your texts are so informative!
Now I know whom I am going to ask about tree fungi etc, ;-).
I like your blog very much!

Snap said...

What a beautiful walk you took us on! Thanks so much! We miss *seeing* the smaller wonders of nature because we don't look ... you looked!

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Thank you! That was a lovely walk with you. It was almost like being there!

eileeninmd said...

Wonderful photos, you founds some interesting looking things. I like the cup lichens.

Lew said...

Sometimes looking down is where the beauty in nature lies! We are also waiting for the trees on the north side of the Potomac to get color.

Jackie Callahan said...

Your moss and lichen photos are gorgeous! I especially loved the cup lichens.

Wanda said...

I haven't come across cup lichens on my walks in the woods...but I will be watching for it now. I learn something new here often Cheryl...I appreciate your posts!

Arija said...

What a wonderful path to follow. so full of wonders to find. Most people just go on a walk with blinkers on. I love the way you find the little treasures. A macro helps and I'm still wishing for one.

A great post and I love the way the flowering thistle looks like a perfect cactus Dahlia.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

SQ: What a neat walk through the woods. You got some neat photos.
BTW: Be sure to put your country on your entry. FG MW Team

Stine in Ontario said...

I love your closeups of the fungi in the woods. You have found a wonderful place to walk and take photos!

Woodswalker said...

What fun to come along with you on your rambles! You have a great eye for noting the interesting stuff, and your photos capture beautifully what you see. Thanks.

Samson said...

Such a lovely post.. love the photo's makes me want to go for walk in those woods :) Thanks for sharing

Lawstude said...

wow. what a treat. all these lovely photos in one post. thanks for sharing. i love it.