They just snap...
and that is all.
Having had a lot of rain lately, the woods smell fresh and earthy.
I love being in the woods but leaves of three, let it be. That's Poison Ivy climbing up the trunk.
It doesn’t take long for everything to look green does it, especially with the amount of rain we have been having lately?
Fortunately, it didn't rain on this day, but we saw its benefits in our surroundings. Liquid sunshine had done its magic.
Plants and wildflowers were blooming.
This is Longstyle sweetroot (botanical name Osmorhiza longistylis), also called Anise root, Wild anise, Licorice root and Smooth sweet cicely, a native of North America. The crushed plant has a distinct scent of Anise.
In the photo below you will see the five-petaled flower of the Virginia springbeauty (botanical name Claytonia virginica), also known as Fairy spud, Good morning spring and Narrowleaf springbeauty. I see it everywhere right now. Those other yellow clusters are the flowers of the Sweet Gum, (botanical name Liquidambar styraciflua). It also goes by Hazel pine, Redgum, Star-leaved gum, American storax and Alligatorwood. This tree can age up to 400 years. You can read more information at the links provided.
Doggies are being taken for their walks...
Okay for this area of the park, but for obvious reasons (not disturbing the wildlife with their curiosity), they are not allowed on the board walk going across the marsh. They do seem happy on the trail through the woods.
These doggies are allowed to get a bit wild. Flowering Dogwoods that is!
The beaver dam has been fortified.
Fallen logs are great for ducks to rest for a while.
Next, I am putting the cart before the horse so to speak, sharing a sighting that we came across on our way back.
A small crowd was staring up into the trees, some had binoculars. There was a photographer with a big zoom lens (600 mm) patiently waiting off to the side. They were very friendly and chatty when I asked them what were they all looking at, with lots of finger pointing into the tree tops.
The photographer volunteered that there was a Pileated Woodpecker nest in one of those tall trees, and he had been watching the parents go back and forth to the nest. First one and then the other, each taking turns foraging food for their chicks. (They chip out a large cavity in the tree to build their nest.)
I had seen a large bird take off and wasn't sure what it was. When the photographer asked me what it looked like, he told me what I had seen was a Pileated Woodpecker. He said he had been waiting and watching as one came out of the nest cavity, leaving the other with their young.
After he had taken his photos, he left soon after with a big grin. I am sure he was very happy with his photos. I was very grateful for the kindness he showed by sharing his knowledge. I wish I had thought to ask him if he had a website.
One of the parents is in the photo below.
It's up there (tree on the left). I will have more to share of the Pileated Woodpecker tomorrow. I only wish I had that 600 mm lens but hey-ho, it's a memory. I am grateful with what I have.
The strangest thing is that I have only ever had three experiences with this bird, in the 46 years that I have lived here. To be fair there were many years when my priorities were elsewhere, the most important being the care of our son. Suddenly my nest was empty, and I didn't discover how very much I loved birding until after he had left home.
One sighting was on a walk at the Manassas Battlefield Park several years ago. I didn't take a camera everywhere with me back then, and I didn't have one with a zoom.
Two days after our visit where we encountered these beauties at Huntley Meadows Park, I was astounded to see one land on our deck, clinging to the pole above the bird cam. I just about fell out of my shoes in surprise. They are the biggest woodpecker in America, this one at least a foot long we thought. We didn't have time to take a photo from inside, and he wasn't in view of the bird cam. He was gone in seconds but at least we saw him. And again, hey-ho, sometimes in life you just have to be content with the memory.
And on that note, I will finish my post. More photos of our feathered friend tomorrow. Thanks for looking and have a great day!