As I approached the wetland area I saw a pair of Wood Ducks fly up and move further back into the wetland. It was a good site because I had not seen any of them for several years. As I looked around I realized that the weeds and briars were all flat against the ground as a result of the heavy snow. It was now actually possible to walk along Furnace Run without getting hopelessly stuck in the stickers. So off I went to follow the run from the wetland, a first for me. The run curves and winds around creating beautiful scenes at every bend.
and scat left on the tree.
The next really cool find was a Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus). Actually I should probably say the next “hot item” since they get up to 15 to 35 degrees centigrade and melt the surrounding snow.
Look inside; it looks like a furnace in there. Amazing isn’t it! I’ve always admired the colors on the outside and never photographed the inside before. It seems there is always more to learn, even about the plants and animals I am already familiar with. It is the same way with friends and lovers. Taking the time to look inside can be full of wonderful surprises.
I had been taking photos of some interesting wood textures like this one…
So when I saw a interesting white section on a fallen tree I moved in close to take the photo. To my surprise and delight I found SNOW FLEAS! I wonder if they are just attracted to the white surface like snow to get the reflective heat. I first read about Snow Fleas when I was learning about Wood Frogs. The tiny toadlets love to eat them when they first hop out of the vernal pool of their birth.
They are 1-2 mm long springtails and look like 6 legged Michelin tire men.
You can click on all the photos for larger views.
Well, at this point I was a happy camper and could turn back but the day was still young, even though I was a year older. Returning to the fire road I checked on the snake eggs
and bird nest I found last fall
and took another photo of the Tent Caterpillar egg cases on the cherry tree.
Assured that all was well, I headed on home.
Visit more Outdoor Wednesday.