Sometimes the words slide out with little effort and other times, they seem to hide in the wings, waiting backstage. So it is on this last day of spring.
Whoa. Maybe I’m not sure what to write because I’m not ready for spring to end. I’m not sure spring is ready either–it was 44 degrees at 6 a.m. and even now, sitting in the shade, I’ve got goosebumps from the breeze..
But say goodbye to spring I must. I’ve spent the past two days savoring its final moments and mosaic colors. Along the way, I’ve seen some cool things.
I came across this ichneumon wasp on the base of a hemlock girdled by a beaver. Because of the long, needle-like ovipositor (that looks like a nasty stinger, but usually isn’t–though she is a wasp), I think this is a female. She’s possibly searching for a place to inject her eggs, which will then feed on other insect larvae.
As the season unfolded, I’ve been training my eyes to focus on leaf characteristics. This one is easy to pass off as a beech. But, its saw-blade teeth tell me to check below the leaves.
Beaked Hazelnut, a shrub that produces hairy husks containing the nut (think filbert) .
Double beaked. They grow singly or in groups up to ten or so.
Dangling like baubles, the fuzzy balls will entice squirrels, chipmunks, birds and yes, humans.
Sadly, not every part of the picture is pretty. The red pines at the summit of Pleasant Mountain are dying off. I spoke with a forester from the White Mountain National Forest about this today and his thought was that it might be red pine scale insects. Yeegads.
My first thought had been weather, but the trees below the summit have also been affected. It’s time for me to contact the state forester and ask his opinion.
The fertile fronds of the cinnamon fern have spread their spores and are now withering. Soon, I’ll have to search to find any evidence that they ever existed.
The same holds true of the interrupted fern, though the gap that will be left once the fertile middle pinnae fall off will be rather obvious.
Long white hairs top the tip of running clubmoss.
Candlelabras are forming, preparing to release numerous spores. Like the ferns above, it’s difficult for me to comprehend that this life form that creeps along the ground was once the size of trees. Mind boggling for this brain.
On to simpler things. A ladybird beetle.
Orange Hawkweed, aka Devil’s Paintbrush.
I think this is an Eastern pondhawk dragonfly, but if you know better, please tell me. My other thought–blue dasher. Either way, like all dragonflies, there’s beauty in its venation and color. Plus, those dragonfly eyes.
The Blue Flag Irises
are making a final statement,
while a great blue heron forages for fish near an abandoned beaver lodge.
Daisies speak to the season to come.
It’s only a day away . . . oops. A red leaf found today. What’s with that? Maybe the pine needle cast has all of nature confused.
Thanks for joining me on this last peak at spring. I’m looking north now as the summer solstice is on the horizon.