Saturday, November 28, 2009
A walk in the November woods
This morning I had an urge to go for a walk in our woods. Although the woods are practically at my doorstep, I do not get out there nearly as much as I should, and since during the week I leave at dawn and return in dark these days, today was a rare opportunity to explore.
Most of the color of the woods is brown these days, save for pine and spruce needles and this mini forest of Lycopodium, a club moss, growing on the forest floor.
The low light of the winter sun hits everything as it would only in morning or evening during the summer. It accented this old paper birch bark nicely.
I started my walk from the cabin, heading southeast on a path along the old logging railroad siding, which still stands slightly raised from the rest of the forest floor. When I approached our property line I turned west and walked through the fairly open forest of white and red pine. I made my way to the rim of the old gravel pit, above, long overgrown with trees. From this angle it looks like a definite trail, and it is in most places, although I would have to cut a few limbs to make a ski trail out of it.
Along the gravel pit trail I saw curious signs of a culture that had been there before me. I do not know what the ice cream pail symbolizes. :)
I went out looking for signs of birds and deer, and I did see a few. My walk was cut short as I was headed behind the new house. I heard a flock of small birds fly over, and they sounded a lot like crossbills. I followed their direction, hoping to find them in a spruce tree eating cones, but I could not locate them. But the best sighting came after I was back at the house, sitting out on the deck enjoying the noonday sun and calm, mild weather. I heard the sound of swans flying from the north. At first I thought maybe I would see a flock of tundra swans, but these had the unmistakable voice of trumpeter swans. I watched a flock of about a dozen or so as they flew over the swamp on the east side of our land. My bird of 2009 will have to be the trumpeter swan; I have never seen so many of them!
I had expected some peace and quiet in the woods, but in reality it was quite noisy. Since all the leaves are off the deciduous trees, we hear traffic louder, although thankfully there is not much. There were two or three trains that passed on the railroad some four miles away during my walk, and the sound rumbled and thundered through the woods. There were a few gunshots, probably grouse hunters or muzzleloader deer hunters. And there was the sound of Starflower and Mr. Attitude playing on the empty trailer, shouting and making it tip like a teeter totter as they shifted their weight. I guess 3 AM may be better if I want silence.