A few weeks ago we drove to this area but it was crowded, so we didn't take our usual walk. That was on a weekend. We decided to return on Monday (October 5th).
We woke up to blue skies and the temperature was perfect for walking. It was in the mid 60s. There were a few cars in the parking lot, but what few people we saw were some distance away. We walked by one young couple walking their dogs while on the trail in the woods. When we saw them coming we put our masks on.
Last time, apart from the pathways that had been cut for us to walk without hindrance, the grass was very high.
On Monday everywhere we looked we could see bales of hay, all neatly placed in all the fields.
The smell of new mown hay was an added pleasant element to our walk.
But first something else took our interest. We noticed that several trees bore fruit. They looked like apples. Edible or ornamental? Not sure!
I tried to find online what they were without success, but we saw this fruit on the ground in various stages of decay.
At the first fence a butterfly rested on the bottom strip, and it began to feed on the old fruit. I believe this is a Red-Spotted Purple Admiral (Limenitis arthemis). You can see one at this website. There is more information here.
There were others enjoying the fruit. The next photo shows a European Hornet (Vespa crabro), which is the largest eusocial wasp native to Europe. It is also the only true hornet (genus Vespa) found in North America, having been introduced by European settlers in 1840. I read that they differ from most wasp species as they are active day and night. The European hornet is less aggressive apparently than say the bald-faced hornet and yellow jacket. But still, a hornet is a hornet is a hornet. Best to be wary I would imagine and admire from afar.
The flies are identified as Flesh Fly (Sarcophaga spp.) I am not going to go into detail on this one, my initial reaction being 'ewwww'. For those who are interested in more information, I have provided this link from Wikipedia. I probably won't do any more research on this one.
We walk across a field heading to a trail we remembered that goes through the woods. If you click here it will take you to a website giving more information.
This is an easy walk according to the site but we didn't take the whole loop trail today. We thoroughly enjoyed what we did do. Here is a map showing the trail.
Turkey Tail or False Turkey Tail? I didn't want to get on my hands and knees in the dirt, nose to fungi, for a closer inspection.
"At this very interesting website, it says: Turkey tail (Trametes versicolor) is a species of fungus that closely resembles a turkey's tail. As a bracket fungus, named because of its shelf-like form, its job is to break down either the lignin or cellulose in rotting wood.
But here's a Thanksgiving - and beyond - conundrum; there's an imposter out there, the false turkey tail (Stereum hirsutum). And there are several species of bracket fungi anyway. So how can you tell if you have a 'true' turkey tail?"
And then the article goes on to explain the differences with great photos.
You can read it here.
We didn't notice any birds today, a couple of squirrels and that was about it. I kept looking up into the trees but saw no movement up there.
But I was happy that this was our fungus/mushroom day. I look forward to this time of the year in part because of these.
I definitely would not try ID'ing these mushrooms by name. I used my plant app which said this is one of the poisonous types. And according to that plant app 'Picture This', the heart shaped leaf in the photo below is from the Common blue violet, botanical name Viola sororia. The leaves on the right are from the Jack-in-the-pulpit, botanical name Arisaema triphyllum.As for our mushroom? I made my mind up just to enjoy looking, and not worry about its name.
I found a very interesting series on YouTube, presented by a young man who is very knowledgeable about mushrooms. It is called Learn Your Land and he has several about mushrooms. I watched one titled Mid-Autumn Mushroom Hunting. You can see it if you click here. I will slowly be working my way through all of them.
"Mushrooms were the roses in the garden of that unseen world, because the real mushroom plant was underground. The parts you could see - what most people called a mushroom - was just a brief apparition. A cloud flower."
The Year of the Flood
These pretty daisy-like flowers are a species of Aster called White-panicle aster. They were blooming everywhere.
Its botanical name is Symphyotrichum lanceolatum, and it is native to North America. It is a perennial and blooms in Summer and Fall.
You can go to a website if you click on this link. Scrolling down the page you will find close up photographs of this pretty flower.
There were also ones called Smooth blue aster, as those in the photo above. Its botanical name is Symphyotrichum laeve. They bloom from early to mid Autumn, and are native to Canada and the United States.
I can't tell you enough what a tonic it was to walk through those woods and it was so nice, for the most part, to have it all to ourselves.
We met the couple I mentioned at the beginning of my post, very briefly. Enough time to say hello and to ask them if I could take a photo of their dogs as we passed. They were happy to oblige and smiled. I am sure those dogs were smiling too, in my world they were smiling, and of course I was happy to have my doggy fix that day. They were the only people we met on our walk, apart from seeing a few in the distance.
We found a bench just beyond the line of trees on the right, and sat for a while enjoying our surroundings.
From the bench there was a reminder (a cannon) of what went on here at the 1st Battle of Manassas and the 2nd Battle of Manassas. My history source (my sweet other half) tells me that the North used to name their battles after cities, whereas the South named them after geographical locations. The South called these two battles 1st Battle of Bull Run and the 2nd Battle of Bull Run, named after the stream nearby. "Run" is another name for stream (or creek) around here.
Below are all that remains of a two-and-a-half-story home.
Below is a photo I found on the historical marker nearby.
Below is a photo I found on the historical marker nearby.
In part the marker reads, "In 1860 Benjamin Chinn and his family lived here in a two-and-a-half story frame farmhouse. Known as "Hazel Plain", the modest plantation comprised several hundred acres. The property was typical of those in Prince William County, yielding wheat, corn, oats and potatoes for cash and subsistence.
War engulfed the Chinn homestead twice in thirteen months. Prominently located on a high ridge overlooking the Warrenton Turnpike and Young's Branch, Hazel Plain stood as a silent witness to some of the heaviest fighting during both battles of Manassas. On each occasion the family took refuge with relatives."
Before I finish this post I would like to give a shout-out to a lovely blog hosted by Linda Schaub. It is called 'Walkin', Writin' Wit and Whimsy'. I found it while looking for information about my butterfly. I enjoyed reading the host's nature walk in her home state of Michigan, and it is such an interesting and enjoyable blog. Linda's website is here.
Hopefully I have all my facts correct in this post, but I am by no means an expert. I enjoy researching and I read and read and read. If you see anything you think is incorrect please let me know.
Thanks for looking and I hope your day is a great one.