The snow we had is long gone. When it was here, it felt like it was going to be around 'til spring. We've been given a reprieve. No snow, easy driving, not too cold.
I like the tree tunnels in all seasons. Add someone walking or riding and I can't resist another shot.
In fall, it's easy to see how good a climber Dog Strangling Vine is.
It's pods twist & turn as they dry out.
I've only seen a few dozen Milkweed pods this year. They were out there. I just didn't time it right or go to the right places. These were on the path today though.
These may look like fungi, but it's a close-up of open seed-scales on a pine cone.
Whatever other colors may be in the scrub, red always catches my eye.
Nature's way. These are Silver Maple buds. The leaves have only been off the trees for a couple weeks but she already has next year's buds ready. They'll patiently wait for spring, when the land will reawaken and we'll come out of hibernation to see the blossoms.
Raspberry canes with the characteristic blue bloom on its stems... so much more obvious this time of year.
The woods at the top of the path have lots to offer. This is target canker on a dead Beech tree.
Though I've seen lots of wood borer trails on fallen trees, these are on a live one. Imagine what's going on beneath the bark of trees we walk by every day.
Notice how intricate the trails are on the right-hand side. Did the bark peel because of the borers?
I've shot this log before. The fungus is only on the growth layers that were recently alive. The heartwood/deadwood in the center is clear. I've only seen this a few times.
These two Eastern Greys were having some kind of stand-off. They froze in this position for a minute or two, and let me get much closer than squirrels usually do. They're both Eastern Greys. Experts tell us the black ones are mainly found in Ontario & Quebec and some northern states. If you're curious about the scientific explanation—they're melanistic. It's the opposite of albinism.
The grey one (half-brown in this case—another color variation of Eastern Greys) is about to enter his nest in this Beech. He finally did.
Judging by the collar around his entry hole, there used to be a branch there. The tree is dead but still standing—a snag. The black one slipped into a second hole just around the trunk from this one. They're both lucky. They didn't need to build leaf nests, like most of their brethren do. Maybe the stand-off had something to do with living in such close quarters.
He popped out to say goodbye to me. The shot is a bit soft—my shirt-pocket point & shoot with it's not-so-good zoom.
A land snail that didn't make it. Only its shell remains.
After leaving the woods, I came across this flop-eared fungus on a colorful log.
An interesting stump. Beautiful coloring. The green fungus is on the recently live layers again, but this time there's a different type of fungus on the deadwood/heartwood.
Depending on the time of day and the light, Black Locust pods seem to vary in color. They persist on the trees through the winter months.
I call this the "Tiny-Pearl" plant. I have the proper name in an old post but I'm too lazy to look it up right now. The white seeds look and feel like pearls. They're rock hard and only the size of a BB.
Black Locust on the left.
Seeing squirrels and other simple things in nature make my walks feel less like exercise. It also means I don't go at the power-walker pace though.
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