Sunday, April 14, 2024

Wildflower Walk at Thomas & Palmer Brook, Great Barrington

 Thursday, I led the first (last week was rained out) in a series of six Wildflower Walks for OLLI. Although it was early for wildflowers, there was lots to see. The rain let up just enough for our afternoon walk.  We have had only a few warm sunny days so the flowers are a bit later than some years. Here is some of what we saw:

We saw a few new leaves of skunk cabblge,
but alas, no flowers.

I came back after the walk to take photos and happened 
to see this red maple flower that had fallen on the trail.
Sorry we missed it!
The other flowers were too high up
in the crown of the tree to see.

The wooded part of the property was logged off
maybe 40 to 60 years ago (I'm guessing).
The remaining rotting stumps
are habitat for lichens and bright green moss. 

We saw lots of bright green and grey-blue lichen
on tree trunks, branches and twigs.
This section of branch was lying on the trail.

The base of this white pine made a good dining area
for, probably, red squirrels. The hichory nuts from
the shagbark hickory next door were gathered here
and chewed open on both sides.
The squirrel may take refuge in the pine tree trunk,
 the rotten section near the ground.
(Or, possibly it was a mouse that bit into the nuts.)

We measured this grand old red oak at approx. 4 ft. off the ground.
It was 17.5 ft. in circumference. We estimated it was 
about 5.5 ft in diameter. I wish I had taken a photo
with all the walkers in it to give the scale!

On this damp day, the lichen was bright in color.

And yes, we saw some flowers--these pussywillows.

The beaver pond with lodge is just off the trail. If you look carefully, there is a Canada Goose sitting
with it's head under it's wing on the right side of the lodge. Maybe it's on a nest?

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