Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring Tidings from the Rich Lake Trail

It was in the '70s by afternoon, so I had to go out and walk a trail. I wanted to see if we had any signs of spring flowers yet (I know, I's only April 1st, but hope springs eternal). Didn't find any, but I did find some nice things.

The elderberry by the birdfeeders is getting ready to burst.

All along the lake shore the ice is melting. I stared and stared at the open water in hopes of finding a defrosted newt or frog swimming about, but nada.

There was this interesting blemish on the ice:

Zooming in, it looks like the ice heaved around a branch or stump that is mostly submerged. I'll have to watch as the ice melts to get a confirmation on the cause.

I love this twisted bit of old cedar. It's the closest we get to drift wood.

The ol' glacial erratic came through the winter just fine...what rock wouldn't?

The far side is covered with all sorts of moss and lichens, like these enormous rock tripes (Umbilicaria mammulata). Right now they are greenish-grey and very pliable.

Towards the end of the walk, I came across this lovely scat nestled in some ice. I believe it is from a mink. Note the folded back and forth structure - like toothpaste from a tube.

And finally, this terrific artist's conk (Ganoderma applanatum) that grew partially inside a woodpecker's food hole:

Now I'll go home and see what's happening in the yard - the daphne in bloom? How about the hazelnuts? Can't wait to see who's enjoying the sun!


  1. Great collection! What a beautiful, patient erratic... Will another glacier be by soon? Probably not...

    Here, I would have said U. americana (we don't have U. mammulata, apparently)-- very similar, at least superficially.

  2. Wow - it's amazing that you still have so much snow and ice. What a difference a few miles distance and a few feet in elevation make! (Alright, so it's more than a few, I guess). I have such a love/hate relationship with this time of year - I love the anticipation and hate the impatience I have for seeing more signs of spring!

  3. Sally - I looked up several rock tripes in my lichen tome, and considering the size of these specimens (some are as big as my hand), I'm fairly sure they are U. mammulata. According to the book, U. americana is 3-8cm across, whereas U. mammulata is 4-15cm across. The real test, of course, would be chemical, and I just don't have the supplies for that. Maybe some day. In the meantime, I remain open-minded and willing to say "hey, I was wrong!" :)

    And the erratic does have some smaller friends nearby - but they seem a bit intimidated, for they never come closer to play. :D

    Woodswoman - yes, snow and ice still. But if this warm weather keeps up, most of it should be gone by the weekend!