Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pink Lady's Slippers on Mt. Greylock

It's unusual to find a patch of so many lady's slippers!
The Tuesday Berkshire Hikers hiked the Woodason Trail from the Mt. Greylock Visitors’ Center on June 4th. In one section of the trail we saw many (a hundred?) pink lady’s slippers. They are in the orchid family.

I never pick any wild flowers in the woods. I don't want to degrade the environment or contribute to the reduction of the species. “Take only photos and leave only footprints” is a good rule to live by.

Papa Yellow Bellied Sapsucker feeds babies.

Recently, I saw a papa yellow-bellied sapsucker feeding his young through a small hole about 12 feet up in a hemlock tree. I watched him come back to the nest with insects for the loudly peeping chicks four times in a few minutes.

I didn't see the momma. Maybe she was taking a breather! Or out for brunch with the other new moms? On the trail to Laura's Tower, June 23.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Mountain Laurel is in bloom!

Some bushes have white blossoms with the faintly pink buds.
Other bushes have deep pink buds with light pink blossoms.
This year the mountain laurel is blooming lavishly. The pink buds open to lighter pink and white flowers on bushes that, in some areas, fill the understory. We walked for literally several miles through the flower-covered bushes.

Because there were so many buds, I think the display will be beautiful for at least another week.

I walked with the Tuesday Berkshire Hikers (June 18) on the Appalachian Trail through Sages Ravine on the Mass.-Conn. border, and then took a side trail through Mt. Plantain in Mount Washington, Mass.
Yep! That's me with the laurel bushes!
Thanks to Janice Tassinari for the photos.

View at Laura’s Tower is partially obscured.

It’s a nice view, but unfortunately the trees have grown tall enough to obstruct the view of Mt. Greylock to the north. The southerly view has been blocked by trees for years.
1. Two years ago before the leaves were out fully you got a good view of Mt. Greylock, the light blue double hump.
2. Last week the leaves blocked much of the view.
The tower is sturdy and in good condition so it is easy to climb.

The first photo was taken two years ago in early May before the leaves were fully opened. The second I took last week (June 16). That day I walked through Ice Glen, up to Laura’s Tower, across the ridge to Beartown State Forest. It's still a great hike and I love climbing the tower and being up in the treetops!

Porcupine in Sages Ravine

 I came upon this slow-moving porcupine in Sages Ravine (Mount Washington, Mass.) on the Appalachian Trail a few weeks ago (June 1). I watched it for a while until it ambled off into the bushes.

Porcupines eat green plants, twigs and the bark of trees. They especially like young twigs and inner bark of the hemlock tree. According to the National Audubon Society Field Guide to New England, one animal can have up to 30,000 quills, mostly on it's rump. No wonder it didn't seem to have much fear!