March 2020: Describe your walk by adding a comment below

Each time you go out and make observations for this project, describe your walk by adding a comment to this post. Include the date, distance walked, and categories that you used for this walk.

Suggested format:
Date. Place. Distance walked today. Total distance for this project.
Categories.
Brief description of the area, what you saw, what you learned, who was with you, or any other details you care to share.

Publicado por erikamitchell erikamitchell, 02 de março de 2020, 10:34 MANHÃ

Comentários

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3/3/20. Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT. 2 miles today
Category: arthropods on snow

Today was the first day of spring in Central Vermont. In the morning under the bright sun, we actually started shedding our winter coats. Snow is melting fast, and the roads are turning to mud. We've still got a lot of snow on the ground, but it could melt away fast. I finally got out for a walk today after 3 days of being under the weather. I was so excited to get out and look for my "friends" on the snow while the snow is still with us. For the last month, on my hikes I've been carrying a heavy pack of equipment for measuring the environmental conditions wherever I find an arthropod on snow. The pack was still too much for me today--I was just glad to be able make it out the full 2 miles and back carrying only a camera and a clipboard. Maybe tomorrow I can try picking up the pack again. With the temperature above 40F, I was worried that I wouldn't find any creatures on the snow. But then I found there was no need to fret. I was greeted by a swarm of stoneflies, plus a Trichocera fly, which I haven't seen for several weeks. There were several snow midges as well, but they were flying and I couldn't catch them. I only found one spider today, but it was dead. I think maybe spiders only wander on the snow when the snow is warmer than the air, not vice versa. Today the air was 10C, while the snow was -0.2C. With those conditions, lots of stoneflies, no live spiders.

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/4/20. Peck Hill Rd, Calais VT. 2 miles today
Category: arthropods on snow

This afternoon I was able to carry my backpack of meteorological equipment on my 2 mile route. I felt like I was walking slowly compared to usual, but I still completed the route 10 minutes faster than yesterday, even with one setup to do measurements. Two steps forward! I think the rotation diet is working. The temperature today was in the 40sF with a stiff moist breeze, very springlike. The surface of the snow seems to be staying at a steady -0.2C everywhere. That must be melt temperature. It rained quite a bit last night, but there were hardly any bugs, fewer than yesterday. So rain isn't the key after all. Maybe bugs don't like punky snow. All I found today was a single winter firefly and a snow flea. I had to look hard to find the snow flea. When I first found the firefly, it had its head in a snow bank and looked dead. I poked under the snow gently and it kicked its legs so I marked it as live. I came back to it after checking out the snow flea, and it was up and moving. No signs of spiders or winter stoneflies. Or even snow midges.

Tracks for the day was a fir tree that the pileated woodpecker on George Rd succeeded in taking down. He was making big holes in the trunk. Then in today's stiff breeze, the trunk just let go and the tree collapsed.

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/5/20. Peck Hill Rd, Calais VT. 2 miles today
Category: arthropods on snow

Today was warm (40sF) with plenty of sunshine, so I was sure I wouldn't find any arthropods on the snow. And of course, just as I started out I found 2 spiders. Now I'm sure I know absolutely nothing about how to predict which days are good for spidering and which are not. After the spiders I found a snow scorpionfly and a winter stonefly. As I was walking up the road, I met a young person walking down the hill. That's an event in Vermont because we're such an old state, and this was a young person I didn't recognize. Further up Peck Hill, just beyond the sign that says "No thru traffic up" and where the class 4-ness of the road becomes extreme, I figured out where he came from--the truck that slid off the road with the Wyoming alumni license plate frame over a Vermont plate. No arthropods from there to the top of the route and back, but on the way down the hill, I saw that the truck had a Wyoming license plate in front. Very odd. And a note on the dash that said "No cell service, I'll be right back." Duh. The large sign where the road becomes impassible is not a suggestion or request; it's simply a statement of fact. When will they ever learn that you can't deny facts? As I continued further back down the road, the guy returned as a passenger in a light pick up truck. Good luck with that, since it was smaller than his own truck. Then I found 3 more winter stoneflies, which made me very content.

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/5/20. Peck Hill Rd, Calais VT. 2 miles today
Category: arthropods on snow

This afternoon was warm again. My instinct said, no bugs today. But then there was a swarm of winter stoneflies, mostly down by the stream, but not all. Eight of them were within 40 feet of each other. I found ten altogether. But no spiders or midges. The VT/WY truck was out of the ditch--they used a lot of salted sand to get it out. Must have been quite a project!

Publicado por erikamitchell 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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LOL, you'd think a guy from Wyoming, however young, would be used to hilly dirt roads. I love that you are now certain you have no idea what will be a good arthropod day; it means any day could have a great reason to go for a walk.

Publicado por srall 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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March 2, 2020. Mountain Top Rd. 1.0 mile today, 746.25 miles total.
Category: 100 steps (or so)

I looked at my map of observations to find the largest hole within about 15 minutes of my house and went and walked there. This was a quiet ridge top on what is a through road but no one uses it, as it sort of connects to main roads at a Y, so only someone who lives right here would need to take it. There's an old abandoned event hall here, closed for 25 years or more, so long that the paint on the concrete sign is no longer even legible. There's also an old mansion in a sunken lot just below the crest, with a tennis court full of weeds. The bank above his lot is crumbling and threatening to take the road with it.

Not a lot of surprises here; the most interesting plants were some rushes and a jimsonweed.

Publicado por srall 8 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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March 5, 2020 Mountain Top Rd. 1.5 miles today, 747.75 miles total
Category: wild

I walked a different section of this ridge top road, plus a couple of little cul-de-sacs today. There was not much in the way of interesting plants, but it was a lovely day to be out and about. One tree had a number of interesting lichen species. Also I've found that pennyroyal is much more common than I'd realized, especially on these dry ridgetops.

Publicado por srall 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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March 6, 2020. Brookdale Dr., Martinsville, NJ. 0.5 miles today, 748.25 miles total
Category: wild

I took a quick walk while on duty on this little dead-end road near the squad building, not getting more than about 5 minutes away from my car. No real plant surprises, though I hadn't realized that the road itself ends in a path connecting it to a local soccer field.

Publicado por srall 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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March 8, 2020, Spring Run, Martinsville, NJ. 0.75 miles today, 749 miles total.
Category: wild

I managed to take a walk during the lunch break for a EMT recertification class I was taking today. No spurprises plant wise, the most interesting thing was thistle stem galls. But it was very nice to move around after sitting on a hard chair all weekend.

Publicado por srall 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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March 9, 2020, Troy Meadows, Pisacataway, NJ. 0.75 miles today, 749.75 miles total.
Category: wild

I drove up to Troy Meadows, a National Natural Landmark site today, to check it out. I was not very impressed. But it's the tail end of winter, nothing is very impressive at the moment. This was a lot of 6 foot dogwood shrubs (gray and silky) then some reed, then a lot of cattail. It was wet but mowed. I found two old cars, which was fun. There was mountain mint and milkweed and ironweed and yarrow. I saw a redtailed hawk. The maple flowers (red I think) were just open. The coolest find, though, was a water scavenger beetle, swimming in a puddle.

Publicado por srall 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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A tennis court full of weeds? What a wonderful find--just my sort of place! Glad you're getting out, even if only for a few minutes between duty or class.

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/6/20. Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT. 2 miles today
Category: Arthropods on snow

This afternoon I headed out searching for arthropods. This time I was sure I wouldn't find any, and also sure I would be wrong. As it turned out, I found 10 winter stoneflies and nothing else. Eight of the stoneflies were in a single stretch of road, all within 40 feet of each other. After studying other people's stoneflies, I thought I had figured out that flies whose abdomens extend beyond their wings are Allocapnia pygmea. But then I found a photo of copulating stoneflies, and maybe those long abdomens are just males and not a marker of species after all.

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/7/20. Taylor Farm Rd, Marshfield, VT. 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods

This morning I met up with my hiking friends for our regular Saturday morning hike. We met at Goddard College to walk up Taylor Farm Rd since the snow in the woods is quite punky right now and not much fun for snowshoing. We were 7 hikers in all, including a 6-month-old in a backpack. The weather was a bit brisk (13F) with a stiff wind as we walked up the lower part of the road. I was delighted to find a green worm near a puddle that had melted in the sun. But the worm was on dirt, not snow. And I had no luck spotting any other arthropods on the snow.

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/9/20. Anse Noire, Martinique. 0.4 miles today
Categories: underwater, plants

This morning I went snorkeling with my husband along the south shore in Anse Noire. The water was much calmer than we saw any time in January. We found a large green tortoise in the turtle grass, also an octopus that was being harried by some yellow snappers. It was great to be able to explore the reef in detail up close with being tossed about the waves. I found some red-lipped blennies and some “tiger” blennies (I don’t know their real name), some sergeant majors, parrot fish, spotted drum, damsel fish, puffer fish, brown chromis, gray snapper, soldier fish, and my husband spotted his first French angelfish. I found several kinds of yellow sponges, some purple sponges, blue sponges, and red encrusting sponges. We found common anemone, orange anemone, and some turquoise mat anemone. Some magnificent featherdusters, yellow featherdusters, and Christmas tree worms. And a long ribbon-like jellyfish (some sort of “belt”). Sea lettuce, feather algae, and several other kinds of seaweed.

In the afternoon I took a walk down the campground road to see if I could find 50 species of “large” plants (no microscope needed). If only I could learn the names of the 50 that I found. One of the trees was mahogany, the one with the red bark and the giants nuts that can clunk you on the head if they fall. There were some acacias and some familiar weeds that I learned in Sainte Anne, and lots more.

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/10/20. Foret Montravail, Saint Luce, Martinique. 2 miles today
Categories: plants, trees

This morning before breakfast I took a bird walk up the stairs and out along the peninsula between Anse Noire and Anse Dufour. I found an open area by a crevasse that splits the peninsula. I sat and waited a few minutes there and the birds began to come out, including lots of spectacled thrush, and some elaenias. Meanwhile, some Caribbean martins were flying overhead, as well as some magnificent frigate birds and a brown pelicans. Other finds of the morning were Carib grackle, Zenaida dove, Lesser Antillean bullfinch, and black-faced grassquit.

Later in the morning a friend took us for a walk in the Foret Montravail in Saint Luce, a public park in a humid forest high on a mountain. We got to see many, many ferns, including several large tree ferns, and what might be some kind of maidenhair fern, and maybe a club moss. Also, lots of mahogany, a kapok tree, some yellow flowers in perhaps the lily family, an epiphyte orchid (?), lots of large epiphytes, some vines, including some with purple flowers, and many, many more plants. I also shot a red skimmer dragonfly, a black skipper butterfly, and a large unfamiliar crab that waved its claws at us on the path.

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/11/20. Anse Noire, Martinique. 2.5 miles today
Categories: birds, plants

This morning I took a bird walk up the hill to the Anse Dufour parking area, which was so rich with birds last January. I was not disappointed—there were plenty of birds. I saw grackles and Zenaida doves, bananquits, Lesser Antillean bullfinches, and a flock of black-faced grassquits. Also, I caught sight of some black-whiskered vireos and Caribbean elaenias, and some Lesser Antillean saltators. I heard a cuckoo in the distance, but no sightings. I also heard several yellow warblers but couldn’t find any. Until a grackle showed me one when it landed in a tree right beside the warbler. When I got back to the campground, I heard a fast pitched prey bird and saw a kestrel/falcon (I still can’t tell the difference) in a tree on the compound, while a broad-winged hawk called overhead.

After breakfast, my husband and I took a walk up the ravine trail. We made it higher than I have ever gone before on that trail, but his water bottle ran out, so we turned back. Someday, someday, we’ll make it to the top. Right before we turned back, we turned off the main trail and followed a side trail that I thought might meet the road sooner. But after a short distance, the side trail faded, even though it was well blazed at the turn-off. On the trail we found some ferns that I think might be in the maidenhair family, and several other ferns that I don’t think I’ve shot yet on this trip, as well as a few other possibly new plants. I’m finally starting to recognize a few trees—the largest trees in the ravine seem to be mangoes, kapok, and mahogany. And then there are all the others that I can’t put a name to. Other finds today were some yellow crabs in the ponds in the riverbed, and some 6” long freshwater fish.

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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I often think at this time of year, when I am thoroughly sick of the same several dozen winter plants over and over and over, that I would love to go somewhere where none of the vegitation is familiar, but I think it might be very frustrating not to know any of them. Maybe I need something more like Texas, where a good third of them are different but two thirds I know (and besides, all of it is much farther along).

Publicado por srall 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3-10-20 Blazier, Claire, and Christy Rds, mostly in Warren, NJ. 1.75 miles today, 751.5 miles total
Category: wild

This was a loop in a housing development on the crest of the Second Watchung Mountain (I usually walk on the First). The most common plant here, at least by biomass, was Japanese aralia (Molly calls it Japanese devil's walking stick). There were pure stands anywhere that wasn't landscaped. Otherwise much of what I found was lawn weeds. I have been mostly only using my phone for iNat on my walks lately and am not thrilled with the photo quality (and everything seems overexposed and undersaturated) but it's very nice not to have to process all the photos at home afterward. Still, each photo takes longer and I definitely don't walk as swiftly when I'm using my phone.

Publicado por srall 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/12/20. Anse Noire, Martinique. 0.5 miles today
Categories: birds, underwater

This morning I took my big camera up to the cliffs overlooking the campground for a little birding. I was quite pleased when several yellow warblers came by to check me out. I parked myself under a red birch tree that currently has purple grape sized fruits, and several elaenias came by. Or were they pewees? I think both may be in the flycatcher family. Then a pair of kestrel/falcons sat on a limb nearby and preened. Meanwhile, down below in the bay, the pelicans were fishing, and there were lots of grackles raising a ruckus. As I returned to the campground, I flushed a green heron off the edge of the beach but didn't quite manage to shoot it.

Later in the morning, my husband and I went snorkeling along the north shore of Anse Noire. The sea has been quite rough for the last few days, so we couldn't snorkel. Today it was much quieter, though not nearly as quiet as it was on Monday. Still, there was some visibility near the reefs. Almost right off, I found a large porcupine fish in the shallows. Then lots of sergeant majors, red blennies, a French angel, a large trunk fish, and some damselfish. My husband called me over to show me a congregation of lobsters under a rock, and there it was, near the lobster rock, a bright yellow longlure frogfish! I've been searching for one for years. It looks like a hunk of bright yellow sponge, with 4 legs and sits like a frog. It even got up and shifted a few position a few times for us. A few minutes later, we found a octopus, and then I found a flamingo-tongue snail on a sea fan.

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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I experimented for a while with phone photos, trying to decide whether it was more efficient to use the iNat app or the bulk uploader. I finally decided for doing large volumes of photos I could get more photos in a small amount of time using my regular camera. But then, there is the upload time as well. To ensure that the photos actually get uploaded and don't sit for a year, it probably makes more sense to use the app. Then it's just shoot and forget about them. It will be interesting to hear to your views after using both methods for a while.

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/13/20. Anse Noire, Martinique. 2.5 miles today
Categories: trees, underwater

This morning I took my meteorological equipment up the cliff trail and over the ridge top so I could get some measurements in the dry scrub forest. I interested in documenting differences in temperature, humidity and wind speed in the micro-boundary layer, 0-3 cm above the ground as background for my arthropods on snow project. Just over the top of the ridge, the trail evens out and is flat (sort of) for a ways, so that's where I took my measurements. While the data loggers were running, I photographed the trees at the site. There were some red birches, mahoganies, and another one I recognize from Sainte Anne, one with deltoid leaves that I should be able to find a name for from prior observations.

Later in the morning, my husband and I took the kayak out to the bay just before the bat cave for a snorkeling adventure. We found several black and white eels, 2 very large porcupine fish and some elk horn coral. The highlight was a squadron of 51 squid of different sizes. I've never seem that many together before.

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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LOL, a squadron of squid! and I looked up the frogfish, very weird, but neat, no wonder you wanted to find one.

I am finding that whether I use my phone or my camera is tending to depend on whether I think the place I'm walking is boring (phone) or not (camera) more than anything else. Though I really like having a very accurate map of where I walked (phone). But the not sitting untouched for a year is a big factor. There are hundreds and hundreds of photos from years ago that I eventually never got uploaded.

Publicado por srall 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3-11-20. Vogt Drive, Bridgewater, NJ. 0.5 miles today, 752 miles total.

Just realized I've made it 3/4 of the way to 1000 miles!

I only had a little time to walk today, so I did the side of the road on this little stretch of abandoned land between the Vo-Tech high school and a salt dome. Once long ago it was a baseball field, you can still see the backstop, but where the sand would be is all cattails now, so it's not much of a surprise they no longer use it. It's been covered in shrubby weeds for more than 25 years that I've seen.

Still this was not exactly virgin forest, and the vast majority of the plants I found were invasives. Unusual for me finds included small carpetgrass, bayberry, monkeyflower, highbush blueberry, and the first spring beauty (we have VA here) bloom of the year, and it had rust on its leaf.

Publicado por srall 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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That's funny--phone photos for boring subjects. At least no matter how boring, they will get posted. And congrats on 750 miles! Way to go!

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/14/20. Anse Noire, Martinique. 0.9 miles today
Categories: birds, underwater

This morning I took a bird walk up to the peninsula between the 2 bays to see if there were birds hanging out by the chasm again. All I found there was a saltator. But in the parking lot for Anse Noire was a kestrel and a pair of common ground doves. They're currently marked with red dots for rare in ebird. I don't think they're really rare--just not reported that much because so many people who come to bird here focus on boobies and other water birds. I also noted some passsionfruit vines out of control on the single little side road opposite the peninsula. I walked up that road to the end and shot a few more weeds.

Later in the morning, I went snorkeling with my husband along the south side of Anse Noire. Although the water seemed calm on the shore, it was actually fairly bouncy along the reef edges. We saw a group of 4 large squids, 2 octopuses, several lobsters, some anemone crabs, as well as the usual trunk fish, slippery dicks, sergeant majors, red-lipped blennies, and loads of grunts and smelts.

In the evening, we took a last walk (we hope!) up the beach to chase ghost crabs. I saw we hope because we do hope to get home tomorrow, but nothing is guaranteed these days. Towards evening I found a Johnstone's whistling frog on the boardwalk and a large fishing spider in the compost pile.

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/15/20. Anse Noire, Martinique. 1.5 miles today
Categories: birds, underwater

This morning I took a bird walk up to the Anse Dufour parking area. I had hoped to see some yellow warblers or black-whiskered vireos. I heard both, but didn't get to see them. I saw some elaenias, as well as the usual Carib grackles, bananaquits, bullfinches, doves, and grassquits. Also, some crested hummingbirds and a kestrel. The kestrel has been quite active in the bay this week, hunting on both sides and sometimes hanging out in a tree in the campground itself.

After breakfast I went out for one last snorkel before heading to the airport. I went along the north side of the bay this time. The water was quite calm with very little bobbing. I found some of those long triangular ridged yellow shells near the shore, as well as a dark fish with wide vertical stripes shaped like a grouper. Plenty of squid, although not 50, and some jellies which I wasn't able to shoot.

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/16/20. Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT. 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods on snow

This afternoon I resumed my daily walks up Peck Hill searching for arthropods on snow. Yes, we still have snow, about 18" in the yard. I predict maybe another 3 weeks before it all melts. Of course, we could get some more. I was actually quite excited to see that we still have snow on the ground. We have more here than anywhere else between here and Montreal. The sky was quite blue and sunny today, with temperatures near 40F in the afternoon, but closer to 10F in the morning. The surface of the snow was still a bit chilly in the shade. But in the bright sun, it was melting, -0.2C. I found a single spider, which made me quite pleased. It was a relatively large and gray and running quite quickly. It ran down a hole when it saw me coming with the camera. I had to scoop out the snow from the sides of the hole in order to photograph it.

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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My son called tonight from Sparks, NV. He's stuck there for a few days as I-80 through the Donner Pass into California is closed for snow. I haven't seen snow on the ground since early December. Which is a nice thing, as we are stuck at home with all three girls doing "distance learning" and nearly everything (except rescue squad duty, of course) cancelled: church, Weight Watchers even. Now a curfew as well (though only when it's too dark for walking anyway). To add snow on top of that would be rough. Though we've had it even in April before.

I'm glad you made it safely home and sincerely hope you did not catch anything along the way (though it sounds like the airlines are working hard to stay on top of that as much as possible).

Publicado por srall 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3-14-20. Chimney Rock Park, Martinsville, NJ. 0.5 miles today, 752.5 miles total.
Category: something Molly didn't see.

Molly ( @dargon ) and I squeezed a walk in before sunset to see if anything was blooming yet in the local park. She was practicing with iNat on her phone, so I challenged myself to find something here to photograph that I've not taken a picture of before and that was not the thing she was photographing, every time she stopped. It was tough! I shot a bagworm, a St. John's wort, some moss, some wood reed, a fungus. I also had a look at the Virginia saxifrage. The only thing we saw blooming was lesser celandine, and it was closed up for the night.

Publicado por srall 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3-15-20. Steel Gap, Foothill, and Jaguar in Bridgewater, NJ. 1.25 miles today, 753.75 miles total
Category: wild, blooming

I walked this little section of older houses because it was a gap in my map that I'd not observed near. It was a lovely day, and the traffic is noticeably less, which was nice as there were large sections without sidewalks.

Blooming were whitlow grass, red maple, lesser celandine, and groundsel.

Things I don't usually see included pussytoes, Kentucky coffee tree (planted), and forsythia stem galls.

Publicado por srall 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3-16-20. Dealaman Farm, Warren, NJ. 1.0 mile today, 754.75 miles total
Category: caught my eye

Katie and I walked in these very very wet woods (thankfully I'd remembered boots for both of us) after she finished her first day of "distance learning" on the theory that we'd be unlikely to catch anything here (and indeed did not even see another person off in the distance the whole time). This is a park I've walked in many, many times before, but I didn't remember finding Chinese mystery snails here before (and I have no photos of them, either). The skunk cabbage was in full bloom, and I saw buds about to burst on a blueberry, but otherwise it was still very wintery here (if totally lacking in snow).

Publicado por srall 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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Wow! Even the flowers closed up for the night? That's serious...sounds like you'll have plenty of times for walks, as long as rescue squad doesn't get too busy. Everything is closed up here as well. I'm hoping to spend my extra evening time going through last week's pictures and getting them posted now that we are home and have a "proper" internet connection. We are finding our connection here is much slower than most people are used to and not enough for virtual meetings, but it sure beats the not-quite-dial-up speeds we had at the beach.

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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We are very lucky here, with everything we need at hand. And it's wonderful to have the kids mostly independently doing their homework, with just occasional nagging. I do have to make an effort, though, to schedule a walk, as I'm used to going out when no one is home, and that is not going to happen for a while.

Publicado por srall 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/17/20. Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT. 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods on snow

This afternoon I headed up Peck Hill in search of more arthropods on snow. Conditions were excellent--30F and snowing with fresh snow on the ground. The fresh snow was very, very sticky. Unfortunately, I went out in my cleats since Peck Hill is completely covered in glare ice. The fresh sticky snow stuck to my cleats and would build up to 6" mounds on the bottoms of my shoes then suddenly fall off. The cleats didn't even help on the ice since they couldn't contact it through the snow mounds on my shoes. I had to walk off the road up on the shoulder past the ice. Still, the hunting was good, with several winter stoneflies, a winter rove beetle (that flew off), a soldier beetle larva, lots of snow midges, and 3 spiders from the 3 different species.

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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Your cleat description reminds me of walking the dogs in sticky snow, when they'd come in with snowballs under the pads in their feet. Very glad you didn't fall.

Publicado por srall 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3-17-20. Union Beach in Union Beach, NJ. 0.75 miles today, 755.5 miles total
categories: shells, birds

Katie, Molly and I went on an "adventure" to the Jersey shore (well really the bayshore, as this was not quite the ocean). We walked the beach and then back on the boardwalk. The most exciting find of the day were my first boat-tailed grackles ever. They have a very odd call. Bird-wise we also saw gulls (I think ring billed), red-breasted mergansers, buffleheads, a song sparrow, a starling, and a house sparrow.

The most interesting shell was what turned out to be a conch probably from some craft kit, but definitely alien. Otherwise, I was excited about a stout Tagelus and a false oyster drill, Molly was thrilled with the sea cypress and red beard sponge, and we also liked some very spiny crabs and a big horseshoe crab (that was very stinky).

Plant-wise my favorite was sea rocket. Also clotbur.

Publicado por srall 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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Those boat-tailed grackles were a terrific find! I've never heard of them before, let alone seen them. No song sparrows up here yet. And how in the world would a conch shell get on that beach--quite a mystery!

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/18/20. Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT. 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods on snow

After lunch I went up Peck Hill for my daily walk. The air temperature was near 50F with bright sunlight and all of yesterday's snow was gone. But there was still plenty of old snow remaining. It was quite punky, though. The temperature at the surface was -0.2C as usual during melt season. I found a few snow fleas, that was all for arthropods. When I got back from Peck Hill, I put my snowshoes on and hiked up into our field. There I found a small caterpillar crawling across the snow. No spiders.

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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I had no idea that melting snow would always have the same surface temperature. Weird, and neat!

Publicado por srall 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3-19-20. Sourland Mountain, Hillsborough, NJ. 1.25 miles today, 756.75 miles total
Category: something Molly was not photographing

I walked with Molly at the Sourland Mountains today, though at the less commonly used side of the park, and nevertheless we passed at least 6 different groups of people. It's rare for me to see more than one group a day normally when I hike. Everyone is getting cabin fever.

Molly was using iNat, and whenever she stopped to photograph something, I made a point of finding something else to photograph. I was expecting spring flowers but only got bittercress and red maple, and at the very end of the walk a little spicebush. But I found a figwort, some small dodder in a field (my usual dodder is bigger and by waterways), a winter stonefly, watercress, field horsetails, and a nice yellow jelly fungus. A lovely walk, if overcast and muddy. And so nice to be out of the house.

Publicado por srall 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/19/20. Peck Hill Rd, Adamant, VT. 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods on snow

When I took my walk up Peck Hill today, I didn't find a single arthropod on the snow, not one, for the first time since frigid February. So I had to settle for some deer tracks instead.

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/21/20. Hayden Rd and Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT. 4 miles today
Categories: trees, tracks, arthropods

This morning my husband joined me for a private Saturday morning hike since we can't walk with our regular group. We headed up Hayden Rd, which we tried with our hiking group a few weeks ago, but the snow was too deep on the class 4 part. Turns out that the class 4 part must be quite popular with snow machines because it had been heavily traveled and was now sheer ice. We ended up walking up on the margins beside the road, looking for trees and listening to birds in the bright sunlight. We found white birch, sugar maple (with a bucket), juniper, red spruce, black cherry, big-toothed aspen, fir, elm, white ash, basswood, white cedar, trembling aspen, red osier dogwood, apple, yellow birch, hop hornbeam, fire cherry, beech, white pine, and sumac. For tracks, we found ruffed grouse, turkey, coyote, and red squirrel.

After lunch, I took another walk, up Peck Hill to look for spiders on the snow. No luck with the spiders, but if found a gorgeous big fuzzy woolly bear walking the crest of a snow drift. And a ground beetle, but the beetle was on the muddy surface of the road, not the snow.

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/22/20. Adamant, VT & Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT. 3.6 miles today
Categories: shy birds, arthropods

This morning I went to Adamant for my regular Sunday birdwalk. Quiet, very quiet, at least on the road. The birds, on the other hand, were not so quiet. I heard lots of song sparrows and red-winged blackbirds today for the first time this season, and I spotted my first pussywillow blossoms. The birds today were highly non-cooperative, all hiding behind whatever branches they could put between themselves and the camera. I shot a song sparrow, a blue jay, a chickadee, and a red-wing, as well as a flock of American tree sparrows who didn't seem at all perturbed by the camera. I also found a woolly bear beside the road, sleeping or dead.

When I got back, I headed up Peck Hill and was delighted to hear song sparrows near the brook as well. Spring is definitely on its way now! I found a grasshopper nymph in the road (not on snow) and a winter firefly, which I scooped up for a guy who is researching firefly genetics. Do you also get winter fireflies (Ellychnia corrusca) in your area? He is trying to collect 2-3 from every state where they occur.

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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We do get winter fireflies, though I don't see them often, and generally not until late April/May. But if I find some I'd be happy to collect and send them, if you can message me with details.

Publicado por srall 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/24/20. Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT. 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods on snow

Last night we had an unscheduled snowstorm that gifted us with 8" of fresh snow. Ideal conditions for spidering! As usual, there was no one else was on the road, so I didn't see or talk to anyone. And there was a bonanza of creatures to find! 20 stoneflies of at least 2 species. 4 spiders, each a different species (I collected 3). A snow midge, a fly, a winter scorpionfly, and a firefly (sorry...but into the jar to become immortal).

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/25/20. Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT. 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods on snow

This afternoon my husband joined me for my spider walk. He said he had never seen a spider on snow before, so I got to show him a couple today. Yesterday's snow was about half melted, but that still left plenty of relatively fresh stuff for searching. We found 47 individuals, 46 on snow and 1 on a branch. There were at least 20 snow stoneflies of at least several different species. Quite a few had mites, but I didn't enter the mites as separate observations. We also found about 5 different species of spiders, a winter scorpionfly, a winter midge, a leafhopper, a damselbug, another kind of bug, another kind of fly and a cricket that was not looking so great.

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/26/20. Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT. 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods on snow

The weather was pleasantly warm this afternoon (40ish F) and sometimes sunny. A lot more snow from Monday's storm had melted. On south-facing parts of my route, about 95% of the snow was gone. Still, there was plenty of snow for hunting. I found 10 spiders of about 4 different species (Entelegyne, running crabs, and others). I haven't seen any of the Tetragnatha species that were common in January and February. There's a definite seasonality to snow spiders. There were some stoneflies today, but not the incredible swarms of yesterday. I wonder if there was a mass emergence yesterday, and if so, what triggered it. There were lots of leafhoppers of at least 3 species, some tiny bugs I haven't seen before, a winged ant (I think), a grasshopper, a snow scorpionfly, and a woolly bear charging across the snow. I also saw my neighbor who stopped along the road to say hi in his pickup truck. And when I got back, I found my husband careening down the driveway on his unicycle. He made it down in one piece, despite the 16% grade and switchbacks. I think he finds the unicycle more fun than chasing spiders.

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/27/20. Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT. 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods

This afternoon was bright and sunny and almost warm (48F). The snow is virtually gone from the parts of Peck Hill Rd with southern exposure. I’m probably the only person in Vermont who would love to see Sunday’s predicted rainstorm turn into snow. Fortunately, there’s still plenty of snow in the woods, and probably will be for another 3-4 weeks. I met the neighbor who lives up on the hill out walking today. It seems they park their 4WD at the top of the hill during this season and walk down—the 4WD is for mud season on the “good” part of the road. Their 2WD just sits in the driveway for the season. We chatted for a few minutes, from opposite sides of the road. The snow has melted from most of the best bug hunting ground from yesterday. However, I managed to find a winter stonefly, a spider, and a big water beetle on the snow, plus another stonefly (different species). And some very fresh big black bear tracks crossing the road.

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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Love your unicycling husband. and a bear, yikes. I've only ever seen one outside a zoo, and I was simply driving by it in the car.

Publicado por srall 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3-21-20. Whitesbog, Browns Mills, NJ. 1.75 miles today, 758.5 miles total
category: unusual

Molly and I drove down to the Pine Barrens in south Jersey today to visit a site I'd been to only once before, 20 years ago (with Molly as a toddler). We'd gone then to see the Tundra swans (and had completely ignored the plants). This time no swans, but we saw bald eagles before we even got out of the car. But we were there for the plants, and they did not disappoint.

Things we saw that are unusual for me included: cat's ear, seedbox, white campion, swamp loosestrife, blunt mannagrass (a first for me), glaucous greenbriar, white cedar, teaberry, sweetbay, mountain laurel, Leucothoe, Hartford fern (a first for me), flat branched tree clubmoss (in IDing this I found that my photo of another one is the thumbnail on iNat), shepherd's cress (new for me), corn spurrey, carolina geranium, cranberry, swamp azalea, pitch pine, bear oak, fetterbush, inkberry, a reindeer lichen, an Usnea lichen, an interesting stem gall on oak, Pharoah ants (a first for me), sheep laurel, a Tetragnatha spider (which made me think of you, Erika, even if there was no snow), an azure butterfly that landed right on Molly's shoe, leather leaf, and field horsetail fertile stalks. Plus about half a dozen things I've not managed to ID.

This is the place where blueberries were first cultivated and there were a number of interesting signs about it. But most of all it was really nice to get out of town and somewhere wild and different after being cooped up on quarantine. Little did I know 3 days later I'd be on isolation.

Publicado por srall 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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What a terrific trip to the Pine Barrens! With an azure butterfly, it sounds quite springlike. Hope you're feeling better soon and can get back with family and outdoors. Sheesh, stuck with just ladybugs, cellar spiders and things you can see out the window!

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/28/20. Cranberry Meadow, Woodbury, VT & Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT. 5 miles today
Categories: woody plants, winter weeds, galls, arthropods

This morning my husband and I took a Saturday morning hike up Cranberry Meadow road. We're staying off the woods trails because of ice, snow, and mud. We found several stoneflies right off, one on snow and one in the road, but then no more arthropods on snow on our walk. Lots of woody plants to look at, though, including highbush cranberry, beaked hazelnut, winterberry, alder, thimbleberry, sweetgale, Canada yew, clematis, and checkerberry. For winter weeds, we found purple loosestrife, cattails, mullein, red clover, Queen Anne's lace, Joe Pye weed, purple vervain, burdock, and milkweed. We also found alder tongue gall, willow cone gall, willow rosette gall, and some stem gall growing on a thin sapling think might have been elm.

After lunch, I took my spider walk up Peck Hill, but there were no spiders. I did find a stonefly and a beetle on the snow, but the snow is rapidly fading in the sun. In the section of the road that goes through the deep woods I think there will be snow for another 2-3 weeks, but not much in the open sections remains at all. However, in the sunny open section I found my first slug of the year, a tiny brown thing with a clear trail.

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/29/20 Adamant VT & Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT. 3.1 miles today
Categories: birds, arthropods on snow

I went down to Adamant this morning for my weekly walk. I waved to a friend who was out for a run. The back roads are quite quiet these days, except for pickup trucks. Either people are driving pickup trucks because of mud season, or people with pickup trucks aren't staying home, or some of both. Lots of pickup trucks are driving slow with windows down, so maybe they're scouting for turkey season. I don't know when that starts, but something tells me there are going to be a lot of hunters in the woods this season. There was a steady cold rain for the whole walk, but I still managed to find some birds, including chickadees, blue jays, red-winged blackbirds, American goldfinches, common grackles, geese, and mallards. Out on the pond a pair of river otter were popping up through the ice to feed.

After my bird walk, I went up Peck Hill to search for arthropods. The snow is gone from at least half the route now and I thought I was going to come empty handed. And then, just before I finished, I found a large Cicurina spider. Yeah!

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/30/20. Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT. 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods

When I went out for my bug walk this afternoon, it was 40F and raining, just like yesterday. I'm finding that 40F and raining is a lot chillier than 20F and snowing. I wonder if it's the same for the arthropods. Liquid water is a real heat conductor, but snow contains a lot of air so it's makes insulation. At least, that's how it feels to a warm blooded creature. I'm clueless how a poikilotherm experiences it. But I didn't find any arthropods on the snow today, just one spider swamped in a flowing rivulet in the muddy road.

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3/31/20. Peck Hill Rd, Calais, VT. 2 miles today
Categories: arthropods

Sunny and warm today, nearly 50F! On my walk up Peck Hill, I found a several winter stoneflies and a winter firefly on the snow. I also found several leafhoppers and a beetle in the road. I chased a grasshopper, but it was so warm out that the grasshopper got away. That's a big advantage of bug hunting in the cold--it's a lot easier when they can't run.

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3-29-20. Chimney Rock Park, Martinsville, NJ. 0.75 miles today, 759.25 miles total
Category: anything wild

I drove my car (alone as I'm still on isolation) for the first time in a week to this nearest park to my house to see the state of the spring wildflowers (and mostly just look at plants that aren't in my own backyard). I took an hour and 12 minutes to go 3/4 of a mile, but I really enjoyed myself, and, although this is a park I go to constantly, I found a few surprises.

First was a garter snake, curled up in the honeysuckle and mugwort beside the parking lot. I'd never have seen him except that I was looking for every possible plant species in the grass. Next was an evergreen bagworm on a sycamore sapling, that's right at the entrance to the parking lot but I'd never noticed it before. Across the street on the embankment was dwarf cinquefoil with rust on it; I've not seen rusty cinquefoil before. Then at the bridge where the trails cross, ramps, dozens of them, that I'd never seen before.

I walked up the trail that has long-spurred violets, but it's much too early. There is also sometimes coltsfoot on the banks of this brook, but not today. But the rocks in the brook were covered in brook stippleback lichen. Back by the river I saw mergansers (common, I think) which I'd never seen here before. The banks were covered in lesser celandine with buds but almost no open flowers, as it was gray and sprinkling occaionally. I also saw a few closed spring beauties. Lots of trout lily and toothwort leaves but no buds there yet. The alder was blooming, though, and my first box elder in bloom of the year. Virginia saxifrage in the cliff face had buds, and what I'm pretty sure was Pennsylvania sedge was blooming.

Someone had planted daffodils where the main path leaves the road and they were all in bloom. Up the hill were rue anemone which didn't mind the rain and were wide open. Right by them were hepatica that I only found because I knew exactly within a foot where they were last year. Even so it took me a moment to see them. Those flowers were closed up.

At the fork in the path were the Dutchman's breeches, blooming as they have no way to close up for rain. Lovely, if tiny. On the other side of the hill was a cress of some kind just starting to grow up. I think smooth rockcress, but it could turn out to be something as common as shepherd's purse; I have trouble until they set seed.

Across the bridge and there were the bleeding hearts, but shut up tight from the rain. Last year I came too late and missed them entirely. Maybe I can get back soon when the sun is out. Also nearby was blooming spicebush, my first of the year. And as I was leaving I spotted a cedar apple gall just starting to stretch out its slimy orange tentacles.

So nice to be back out in the woods and in spring!

Publicado por srall 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3-30-20. Vosseller Ave., Martinsville, NJ. 0.75 miles today, 760 miles total
Category: wild

I parked at the very closest end of the local park to my house, intending to walk along the brook in the woods, only to realize I'd forgotten my phone. I didn't want to walk in the woods alone with no way to summon help (as there is never anyone on this path) so I walked up the road instead. The uphill side (facing traffic) is woods owned by the Boys Club and thoroughly posted no tresspassing, but one is allowed to walk on public roads. This road, however is fast, winding, and has no shoulder whatsoever. Luckily traffic is much reduced with the stay at home order, and I maybe saw a dozen cars total.

Across from the parking space is the only place I've ever seen robin's plantain, and the basal leaves were abundant. Japanese barberry is covered in buds. American elm was blooming. There was a whole patch of last year's American pennyroyal fruits, blackhaw about to bloom, and a hazel (rare around here) in full bloom.

Up by the entrance was cypress spurge in bud and a blooming red maple. Bittercress, spring beauty, and deadnettle were blooming in the yard, and across the street was some blooming chickweed. The other side of the road on the way back is houses with lawns and not as interesting, but i found a thistle that might have been Carduus rather than the usual Cirsium. All in all a nice walk on a gray day.

Publicado por srall 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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3-31-20. Eastfields, Martinsville, NJ. 1.0 mile today, 761 miles total
Category: new this spring

Today I took the walk I'd intended to take the day before, because this time I remembered to bring my phone. This is along a wooded floodplain to a bit of cliffs with hemlocks then a small field and back through damp woods.

Lesser celandine, ground ivy, skunk cabbage, and spicebush were blooming, and the highlight for me was coltsfoot, right by the entrance but I only saw it on the way back out.

Red maple was setting seed, and I was confused by several huge clumps of blue-green linear leaves but among them I found the fruit of what i think was a snowdrops, already past (these were bigger than I'm used to for snowdrops, though, so I may well be wrong).

Also new were goopy quince rust on the red cedars, toothwort and trout lily leaves, and flower buds on the barberry, blackhaw, and pensylvania sedge.

Publicado por srall 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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Sounds like some great walks with spring wildflowers--I'm drooling with envy. I gotta learn to be patient. Maybe in a month we'll see some spring ephemerals. I'm thinking maybe I should take advantage of the light traffic to walk one of the few roads in town that I have never walked because the traffic is always crazy. Learning to seize whatever opportunities open up.

Publicado por erikamitchell 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)
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That tail end of winter is always the most frustrating time. I really do see the reduction in traffic making it easier to walk roads I won't usually try.

Publicado por srall 7 meses antes (Sinalizar)

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