Yesterday I discovered a male ring-necked pheasant in our backyard–a most unusual sighting. As I watched, he headed over a stone wall and into our woodlot where he cackled and beat his wings in hopes of attracting a mate. The only responses he received were gobbles from Tom Turkey. And so it went for a while . . . cackle . . . gobble . . . cackle . . . gobble.
This morning we were awakened at 5 a.m. to the same mating calls. Who needs a rooster?
When I stepped out the back door, neither bird was anywhere to be seen or heard.
But the double daffodils that came with our house showed off their cheery faces to all who looked.
And by the road, the magnolia we planted about fifteen years ago added its own pastel palette to the scene–however momentary.
By late morning, we changed our focus from the yard to a woodland a few miles away for today was the day we chose to work on the section of trail we steward at Lake Environmental Association’s Holt Pond Preserve.
There were trees and limbs to clear. And trimming to be done as well. The last time we were on the Southern Shore Trail, which was only a couple of months ago, we noted a few trees that would need our attention, but today there were between fifteen and twenty.
Occasionally, as my guy used the chainsaw and I waited to clean up, I spied old friends like a wild oat or sessile-leaved bellwort in bloom.
And then I made a discovery that had eluded me in the past–a spotted wintergreen. It was an exciting find for it’s listed as S2 ranking, meaning “Imperiled in Maine because of rarity (6-20 occurrences or few remaining individuals or acres) or because of other factors making it vulnerable to further decline.”
We were close to an outlook by Holt Pond when we saw the spotted wintergreen, Chimaphila maculata, and so we paused to take in the view looking across to the quaking bog as we dined atop a stump.
From there we moved on, making rather quick progress to the “field,” a former log landing where the forest is slowly reclaiming its ground.
As we approached we startled a ruffed grouse and came upon a familiar sight at this spot for the trail through the field has always provided a dust bath for these birds.
And on the edge of the “tub” a telltale downy feather.
Typically, when doing trail work, our turn-round point is the field for that’s what we’d agreed to years ago. Today, we decided to keep going and made a small stream our end point. We shifted a bridge and watched the water striders for a while. Apparently, love wasn’t just in the air, but on the water as well.
On the way back, I was delighted to discover my first painted trillium of the season. I sensed my guy’s groans for he knows I’ll exclaim over and photograph each one I see–not satisfied until I reach a trillion trilliums.
Oh, and there were fern crosiers to celebrate, especially the scaly spiral of the Christmas fern.
At last we reached the beginning of our section of trail and I told my guy that I wanted to go down by the water for a moment, but not cross the boardwalk because my hiking boots leak. He put the saw down, contemplated the water, and made the crossing. From the other side he suggested I join him since the water wasn’t that deep. Before I did so, however, he asked me to move the saw off the trail and out of sight. As I started to hide it, he crossed back over and said, “I’ll take it in case we need it.” And back again he went, the saw in his left hand for he’s a southpaw. He’d just reached the other side when I stepped on the boardwalk and began to carefully move, ever mindful of my boots . . . until those very boots slipped out from under me. Down I went. Crash. Bam. Smash. On the wood. My right forearm took the brunt of the fall and my camera ended up in the water.
My guy came to the rescue as he lifted me up . . . though first I insisted on the camera being saved. And now I have used the hunt and peck method to type this story for I am a southpaw for the next six to eight weeks as I recover from a fracture to the ulna and radius. That’s how today became a left-handed Mondate.
The camera is also in recovery mode–here’s hoping a rice bath will work wonders.