Monday, May 7, 2018

The Perfect Birthday

We hadn't been to Ponkapoag Pond since our annual week's stay at the AMC cabin there late last summer.  After a leisurely morning, my wife and I headed there Saturday for a nice walk--a birthday gift to both of us.

The weather was perfect--high 60's, sunny, breezy.  Trees were just leafing out or blooming, but the pond was still almost as clearly visible as in leafless winter.  There were no mosquitoes.

Vernal (seasonal) pools are important breeding places free of the danger of fish.

Leaves of American beech are so newly-emerged that they still have their downy hairs.

The scales that protected the long, pointed beech buds through the winter are only papery remnants.

Pignut hickory.

It's hard to believe this tiny flowering dogwood is preparing to bloom.

One highlight of the walk is the hunt for marsh marigolds
in a stream and wetlands at the bottom of this hill.

The flowers are small and scattered, but they're there.

Marsh marigolds!

Witchhazel is leafing out, but won't flower until fall.  (The name might
be familiar since an extract from the bark is part of an astringent.) 

False sarsaparilla has globular clusters of flowers that emerge with the leaf.

Wood Anemone.

More marsh marigolds!

The spring nor'easter that knocked down trees and cut power all over affected the trees here, too.  Many had fallen.  

This tree, like most I looked at, seemed to be only shallowly rooted.

This tree narrowly missed the shelter at Missionary Point Camp.

This tree was a small red maple, but it did outsized damage
by pulling up other small trees and shrubs.

This tree ought to be vulnerable to wind: it is somewhat isolated,
and is only about two feet above pond level.  --but it was unaffected.

Cottonwood, or some other poplar.

Alder has just finished flowering.


These hollows" are a mystery to me.  This one is perhaps twenty feet long and eight wide, and at least four deep with a flat floor.  I've always assumed they were natural.  How do they form?

Leaving the woods.

Next year I'm planning on turning fifty-nine all over again!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

D.W.Field Park After a Winter Nor'easter

Three nor'easters in two weeks.  Thirty-six hours without power, and the majestic fall of a healthy, massive black oak across our backyard after the first.  Blizzard conditions and over a foot* of heavy snow during the third.  Two (more) days out of school. 

But there are compensations.

Last Wednesday, March 14th, I slung my snowshoes on my back and ventured into D.W.Field Park, Brockton in the bright sunshine.  It turned out to be already plowed.  (I am informed that Mr. Field made sure his park has an independent budget.)  I walked the middle (and arguably prettiest) section of the park, seldom needing to wade through the snow, and only putting on my snowshoes to negotiate a quarter-mile-long causeway that connected the outgoing road to the incoming one.  Melting snow and ice falling from the trees made me glad of my broad-brimmed hat.  It was gorgeous.

Upper Porter Pond

Low hill beside Waldo Lake

Walking around Waldo Lake

 Looks like Waldo Lake has muskrats!

 Gray birch adorned with ice ornaments.

 Mallards, Canada geese, ring-necked ducks, and gulls.  (See anything else?  I'm a very poor birder!)

 Ring-billed gull.  (Only just discovered I'd been mistaken in calling these herring gulls!)

More of Waldo Lake

Crossing Waldo Lake on the causeway--my only time on snowshoes (so far) this winter.

You could be forgiven for thinking me obsessed with water and islands (which I am); evidently the Park's designer was, too!  (Toward the left is approximately northwest.)

*Impossible to be sure how much more--it blew and drifted so much.