Halting–prone to pauses or breaks. I didn’t break, but I certainly was prone to pauses as I moved along the trails and boardwalks at the Holt Pond Preserve in South Bridgton this afternoon.
One of my first stops–to admire the pitcher plant flowers in their August form.
When I took a closer look, I realized that the seeds were developing–certainly a WOW moment in the world of wonder.
The global seed heads of buttonbush also demanded to be noticed. Upon each head are at least two hundred flowers that produce small nutlets. What strikes me as strange is the fact that this plant is a member of the coffee family. Maine coffee–local brew; who knew?
At the Muddy River, the water level reflected what is happening throughout the region–another case of “Honey, I shrunk the kids.” It’s downright scary.
Both by the river and on the way to the quaking bog, this wetland features a variety of shrubs, including one of my many favorites, speckled alder. Check out the speckles–those warty bumps (aka lenticels or pores) that allow for gas exchange. And the new bud covered in hair.
This shrub is so ready for next year–as evidenced by the slender, cylindrical catkins that are already forming. This is the male feature of the shrub.
It also bears females–or fruiting cones filled with winged seeds.
It’s not unusual for last year’s woody cones or female catkins to remain on the shrub for another year.
Whenever I visit, it seems there’s something to celebrate–including ripening cranberries.
Common Cotton-grass dotted the sphagnum bog and looked as if someone had tossed a few cotton balls about. Today, they blew in the breeze and added life to the scene. Note to self–cotton-grass is actually a sedge. And sedges have edges.
Just like the Muddy River, Holt Pond was also obviously low. Perhaps the lowest I’ve ever seen. At this spot, I spent a long time watching dragonflies. They flew in constant defense of their territories.
Male slaty skimmers were one of the few that posed for photo opps.
As I watched the dragonflies flit about along the shoreline and watched and watched some more, I noticed a couple of fishermen making use of the LEA canoe. I don’t know if they caught any fish, but I heard and saw plenty jumping and swimming. Well, a few anyway. And something even skimmed across the surface of the water–fish, snake, frog?
Rose hips by the pond’s edge reminded me of my father. He couldn’t pass by a rose bush without sampling the hips–especially along the shoreline in Clinton, Connecticut.
The view toward Five Fields Farm was equally appealing.
And then I moved down tire alley, which always provides frequent sightings of pickerel frogs. I’m never disappointed.
At the transition from a red maple swamp to a hemlock grove, golden spindles embraced a white pine sapling as if offering a bright light on any and all issues.
In this same transitional zone, a female hairy woodpecker announced her presence.
When I crossed Sawyer Brook, green frogs did what they do best–hopped into the water and then remained still. Do they really think that I don’t see them?
At last, I walked out to Grist Mill Road and made my way back. One of my favorite surprises was the amount of hobblebush berries on display.
Walking on the dirt road gave me the opportunity for additional sights–a meadowhawk posed upon a steeplebush;
chicken of the woods fungi grew on a tree trunk;
and a chipmunk paused on alert.
But the best find of the day–one that caused me to halt on the road as I drove out of LEA’s Holt Pond Preserve–an American Woodcock.
Worth a wonder! And a pause. Certainly a reason to halt frequently at Holt Pond.