Wandering The Woods

Most of my summer is spent outdoors, and occasionally I remember to bring a camera with me. Here are some of the things I found interesting. This is in early spring, a place called “Buttermilk Falls.”
Buttermilk Falls
It’s a popular destination, since it’s only a 100 yard hike in from the parking area.


This is a road cut which gives a good example of what is the common soil depth and underlying geology.
road cut
Notice how thin the soil is? This is actually the usual here. The glaciers scraped this area clean, and when they receded left a lot of sand around. The soil is a duff soil, which is mostly fungi decaying leaves and needles. One thing to note – earthworms are not native to this area. What you’re seeing is about 10,000 years of soil buildup.

A little later on, around June, you’ll see these in the woods:
Lady slippers

These are lady slippers, an orchid.

and these, a young buck in velvet – he was a regular visitor to the rose bushes.
Young buck

Later in that month, or early July we see these appearing:
Luna Moth

Luna moths. They’re very pretty, and we see them on the walls in the morning. You wonder how they can fly with those wings, but they do. ;-)

In early July we start seeing some other natives appearing, although they’re not happy to see us:
snapping turtle
She’s laying her eggs here, and she’s not happy that someone is taking her picture while she’s doing it.

Finally this:
bog

That spit of land you see with the little tree on it isn’t actually land. It’s a piece of bog that broke free during the 2011 spring floods and drifted down this lake, coming to rest there. Give it a few years in place, and it will be land, but for now it’s a mat of bushes that really aren’t anchored.

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11 Comments

Filed under Parks, Science

11 responses to “Wandering The Woods

  1. Dancer

    That was enjoyable…we, too, are blessed to live in an area of NYS (southern tier) where we experience similar views on our 70 acres of land. We have ponds and only a running stream in the spring. But the deer, flora (loads of trillium), turtles, numerous birds/ducks/geese, woodchucks, chipmonks and even a black bear who wanders through one end of our property occasionally add to the wonder! We are so very lucky…even looking out on mounds of clean snow!

    • We’re looking at a couple of feet of clean snow at the moment. There are two types of trillium up here, red and white. I covered them in a post a year or so ago. ;-) Ducks, eagles, loons, various owls, red squirrels, chipmunks, yes, but no skunks or woodchucks. Most of the time when I see a bear, it’s when I don’t have a camera or couldn’t take a picture anyway. Earlier this summer, I was driving down a road and thought “someone’s dog is loose,” only to realize as I got closer that it was a young bear running down the side of the road. :lol:

      • Dancer

        Yes, we have the red and white also in our woods…when I first found this place it was in May of ’89 and the trillium were blooming in “fields” through the trees. I fell in love. Somewhere in a computer file I have photos of a luna moth my husband found on our big old Amish barn. We used to have loons, buffleheads, and mergansers but haven’t seen any in awhile. Do get the occasional Kingfisher and past years brought a pair of Baltimore Orioles that we would track through their nesting. One year there was a wood duck in the box my husband put on the smaller pond here – have a photo of her somewhere too. Boy, do they get outta here fast after chicks emerge. I have never seen an owl and would love to. My husband had a long distance face-off with the bear a few years ago while on his golf cart…it continued on it’s way up to the road and on from there so he hurried back for his camera and snapped a few shots…also got a passing trooper to take some which he shared with us…they say it was a big’un. I’m bear phobic so do not try to be anywhere it might choose to be. If you are ever in this area we’d love for you to see what we treasure.

  2. overseasgranny

    Do you have much bog there, Norbrook? We have too much over here in Ireland. Mountain bog is the worst as it can slide down or sideways and wipe out whole villages. Bog, on the positive side, is good for finding exotic things that were put down in it – books, jewelry, butter and bodies.

    • There’s quite a bit of them, but they’re smaller (in general) than what you see in Ireland. What these particular bogs are, are shrubs that grow on a detritus mat around stream mouths. after a few years, you have a layer of moss with a thick mat of these shrubs growing on damp leaves/needles, and down the line, you get an occasional tree sprouting. In normal years, the water level is only an inch or two below the root mat. When you have what we had last year, a 500-year flood, there’s no “soil” to support it, so the whole thing lifts up and floats. Here, pieces broke off and were carried by the currents out into the lake, and it ended up grounding there. There’s another piece that grounded about 400 yards away up the lake. The people who were out there last year breathed a sigh of relief when they did, because if those pieces had hit the outlet stream, there would have been major problems.

  3. aquagranny911

    Great diary! I love it when you share pics from your environment. I remember the Lady Slippers from a wooded area that backed our house in MA years ago. I nearly had a break down when my 4 year old picked one & brought it home to Mama because they were protected species even then. We had a long talk about not picking stuff in the “woods.” She never did anything like that again!

    Got a chuckle about the deer eating the roses. Along with horses, deer seem to find roses most delectable!

    • They like to browse the fresh shoots. These roses are one of my “side projects” out there, they need to be seriously cut back. They’re taking over everything, so my goal is to get them back to “nice little rose bushes” instead of “field of bramble.” :lol:

      • aquagranny911

        Are they the wild rose variety or the cultivated kind? Wild roses have less showy blooms but their scent is heavenly, way better than all the more beautiful cultivated & hybrid varieties.

        I love roses but have never been very good at growing them. In an area near a beach in MA, there was a huge patch of wild roses. I would just go there to suck up the scent in summer. I can still smell them in memory.

        • They’re wild roses. They’re not native, but they’re “naturalized.” ;-) They’re great in small patches, but when they start getting out of control, they’ll take over everything. So, I spent my spare time this summer chopping them back. One of the other things is that they don’t get the number of flowers when they’re that old and overgrown.

        • Here’s what they look like in bloom:

          • aquagranny911

            Yep they are wild ones what ever their origins. Even fancy hybrids are often grafted on old stock. It is the new growth that produces the best & most blooms which is why rose growers prune like Edward Scissorhands!