Farther in, the pitcher plants are waking up after the deep freeze. They're waiting for a little bit warmer weather, and the influx of flies that will fill up their traps and provide some nutrition!
Moss and lichen coat the trees in this black spruce bog. The old man's beard lichens hang from branches. We could hear the ducks on the pond, but we didn't see them. We saw the evening sun reaching across this secret spot instead. The mixture of sun and shadow turned half the pond into gold. The rich dark greens that will mark this place later in the summer are still in their pastel shades, a sure sign that it is early spring. The spring peeper frogs were in full song, and we stood for a bit listening to the chorus. Hard to believe that such deep, loud tones can emanate from such tiny little frog throats!
Leaving the bog, we worked our way across the old gravel pit -- it is still active, but we don't work it very hard. We weren't the only ones out enjoying the evening. Turkey tracks criss-crossed the sand.
Criss-crossing the turkey tracks, Mr. Fox had left his paw prints. We left our own tracks, and crossed the road to move into the hardwood forest.
The light was starting to fade, and in the woods it was lovely, shaded, silent. Well, silent except for the songs of birds and the rat-a-tat-tat of woodpeckers. We passed a huge hemlock, whose bark was raddled by the tell-tale holes left by the yellow-bellied sapsucker. That, along with the artists' fungus taking up residence, indicates that the health of this tree is not all it might be if it had national health services... look for a woodpecker in its future.
We hadn't gone far before we found signs that we weren't so alone in the forest, either. Beech trees always bear careful scrutiny... and please do note the play on words. Beech trees are where you find bear claw marks. This tree, while not particularly robust as beech trees grow, had a great collection where a bear had climbed all the way up... and then all the way down, probably looking for beech nuts last autumn. It's located right on the edge of one of our trails, so it's going to be easy for our guests to find and admire.
A little closer to home, we spotted the old nest of either a hawk or an owl, high up in a tree, a great messy sprawl of branches and sticks. Nobody was home when we walked by, but it will require a little surveillance this summer!
Then we came across a big pile of wood chips on the trail. These are larger than the chips left by a chainsaw when the guys are working on clearing windfalls off the trails, and they were a complete giveaway. They indicate the pileated woodpecker is at work over your head. It's incredible how large a piece of wood the woodpecker can hammer out of a seemingly solid tree!
We looked up to find the source of the chips. Woodpecker is working on quite an excavation right where the broken branches fork. And the moon was hanging in the sky, lighting our way back across the road to the resort, and home along the shore of the lake.
We have a wonderful backyard...