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Oddments

>> Tuesday, January 26, 2010

We only had a few minutes for woodsy wanderings this weekend, so we stayed close to home and went to Baltimore Woods again.  The snow had melted enough that snowshoes weren't necessary, so my snowshoe-less spouse accompanied me.  We weren't there terribly long, and the dim, depressing, pathetically gray light made photography a challenge.  Overall, it was a fairly uninspired and uninspiring walk, but I thought I'd share a few of the random bits we stumbled on.

First the fungi.  Some black knot fungus:


Not sure what this next one is.  I can't find my #$%^*! fungus field guide.  What the heck could I have done with it?  You can click to zoom in.  It's like dozens of tiny wrinkly red brains.


And I'm not at all sure a fungus is involved in this, but the waxy gray and orange of this log looked peculiar and possibly fungusy or slime moldy to me:


As far as tracks go, it was a disappointing day to try to follow any footprints in what was left of the snow. It was so warm that most were melting almost instantly, so all the tracks were pretty much just shapeless indentations in the snow. The deer prints were still distinct since they step in so much deeper than everybody else, but there wasn't much else that was identifiable. It was frustrating since we were completely surrounded by those little shapeless impressions. We did manage to spot a few well-traveled trails small critters had made under the surface of the snow as the melting snow exposed the tunnels from above:


It's amazing to contemplate the complex maze of passages that must exist just under the surface. It makes me claustrophobic just to contemplate burrowing about everyplace under all the snow.

On to some poo.  We walked through one area that was covered in rabbit scat.  It was everywhere!


At a glance it looked like someone had taken handfuls of kibble and scattered them across the surface of the crusty snow.  Lots of bunny tracks, some even fresh enough to still identify, and plenty of nibbled branches.  There must be a healthy bunny or two nearby.  A tuft of fur, too:


I think this is fox scat.  Furry, sort of twisty looking.  The picture turned out terrible - my apologies.  Somehow it has no color in the photo, although it was a nice brown with lots of gray fur in it.


I know there are plenty of fox at Baltimore Woods.  I forgot to bring a baggie with me (yet again) so was forced to leave the scat in place rather than taking it home for dissection.  I declined to use my camera case for the purpose, and for some reason my husband didn't volunteer the use of his pockets.

One of the things I love about Baltimore Woods is all the grape vines.




They make for good photos with all their weird shapes, and all the wonderful seats they form.  Why is it that I can't resist sitting on the ones that are right next to the trail?  Happens every time.




See?  Every time.  There are a whole bunch of pictures of me hanging off grape vines and up trees.

Finally, we went on a quest to find a bridge that I helped build as a girl scout something like 20 years ago.  I suspect it may even have been replaced by now, because as near as I can remember this was the location, but this bridge looks too new.


It was fun to wander around and try to dredge up the old recollections, though.  Another of the bridges nearby bore evidence of a squirrel walnut snack:


Strange fungi, critter tracks and snacks, turds, and old memories.  Another ordinary woodland wandering.

3 comments:

Anonymous January 26, 2010 at 11:31 AM  

WW, Try Red Tree Brain , sometimes overwinters, only on Aspen/Poplar which your pic looks like to me. http://www.flickr.com/photos/annkelliott/2858187918/. Lots of this at Baltimore Woods.

Woodswoman Extraordinaire: January 26, 2010 at 11:38 AM  

LOL - thanks, Anonymous. I did say it looked like little brains. I guess that is one fungus that's aptly named!

Sneaksleep January 26, 2010 at 2:49 PM  

I totally know what you mean about the grape vines. Growing up, the woods behind our house had lots of grape vines, and we used them for all sorts of things--sitting, swinging, climbing. Now where I live, one is far more likely to find poison ivy vines than grape vines in the woods. :(

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