Nature Walks – January 2016

“So come, get ready.  Don’t delay!  We’re on a nature trail today.”

~Maurice Pledger, from In the Forest

January 2016 was amazingly warm and lovely for…well…January…in upstate New York.  Alas, I feel that I totally missed the month though!  I don’t know, we hardly got outside at all!  I had two out-of-state trips with work, and there was a lot of waiting time for the permits.  (I drive the escort vehicle for a company that manufactures sheds, garages, horse barns, and cabins.  We hauled two cabins this month.)  I had A LOT of pictures of the cat on my camera, but since the cat doesn’t go outside, that wasn’t useful for this post!  As the end of the month neared, I worried that I would have NO pictures for nature walks, but we snuck out a few times somehow.

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Elizabeth and I got out on a 40-degree day and wandered down the trail for a nice jaunt while Paul was napping.  I found this broken branch with some interesting fungus on it on the ground.

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I also snapped this photo of goldenrod with a gall.  The gall is made by the plant when a fly, the goldenrod fly I think, but don’t quote me on it, lays it’s egg on the stalk.  The plant then grows around the egg, producing this gall.  The fly larva then hatches from the egg inside the gall on the stem.  The bottom gall shows an exit hole.  Though it also kind of looks like a downy woodpecker pecked through it, I can’t tell the difference.  Paul and I learned about these on an Owl Prowl walk we took at a localish wetland (see next photos).

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My mom told me about an Owl Prowl to be held at a landfill wetland not too far from home and I planned to take Elizabeth, but the day of, she didn’t want to go, so I left her with my mom and took Paul.  We didn’t see any owls on the walk, but we did see some galls on goldenrod (see above) and a Northern Harrier, a type of hawk which we were told is threatened in NYS.  The Owl Prowl was from 5-6pm, so I got some lovely photos of the sunset.

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Paul didn’t want to linger long on the Owl Prowl – he’s not yet three, so I understood, it was also a little cold and he had a bad cough.  As we walked back in the darkness, I saw this plant with neat…I don’t know what they are, probably seed casing, but they were stiff and looked like flowers.  I snapped a picture, but it was dark and I thought that it hadn’t turned out, but when I looked at them today, I thought it was pretty cool.  What do you think?

Share your thoughts:  What neat things did you see on your nature trail this month?

 

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