On the forest floor

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After a mile or two of a hike that began in tall grassland and meadows we suddenly entered a stretch of trail that wound it’s way through a luxuriant forest filled with treasures of all kind. From beautiful Woodland Pinedrops to what seemed an unending variety of ground covers, the landscape was transformed. From dry to wet, from brown to green, you never know what you’ll find on the forest floor.

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Unusual fungi and tiny white bells.

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Life took many forms and all play a part in the ecosystem of the forest floor.

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Wishing you a wonderful weekend and some time to explore.

Pipsissewa:Chimaphila umbellata

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Pipisissewa is a beautiful and distinct wildflower found on the forest floor not to mention a fun name to say. With its long stem and single umbrella shaped flower it is  hard to miss while hiking through the woods and native to much of cool temperate forest across the northern hemisphere. A member of the wintergreen family Pipsissewa has green leaves year-round, it receives a significant portion of its nutrition from fungi in the soil.

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Pipsissewa, as much fun to observe as it is to say and wonderful companion on any forested walk.

Whispers in green

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Yellow whispers in a big old sea of green.

That is what this Yellow Columbine felt like on a recent hike into the forests nearby. A rainier than typical spring and early summer has the forest looking green as green can be and even a large patch of Columbine growing strong could only mustard a whisper in that sea of green yet sometimes a whispers is all you need.

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Forest Treasures

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Finding wild Orchids growing in the forest always feels like finding a little treasure, a treasure offered by the forest itself. Sometimes the treasure is small and hidden deep in the undergrowth as was the fairy slipper above.

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Other times the treasure sits alone in the forest waiting for you to some along as this spring coral root did on recent day.

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And every once in awhile the treasure sings out to you saying look at me as the Striped Coralroot has a habit to do.Treasures_4Any time I find these orchids growing in the forest it does indeed feel like finding a small treasure that brightens the day.

Good Evening

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Hello Mr Grosbeak what a big bill you have.

The Evening Grosbeaks have made an extended appearance this spring and we are enjoying seeing them in the trees nearby. Such a large finch (about 6.5-7.0″), that imposing beak and so darn colorful they really stand out compared to the other birds in the Finch family that typically hang out in our forests like the demure (5″) Pine Siskin and slightly larger (6″) Cassins Finch.

Early Risers

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Spring has come late this year. With a late April round of snow and subfreezing temperatures to a wetter and colder than typical May. By Memorial Day the Glacier Lillies and Shooting Stars have typically given way to other spring wildflowers but not this year. They are still abundant and fresh.

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While the rest of springs basket is starting to burst forth into bloom I am always thankful for these two early risers that signal spring is indeed here and especially this year.

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Wood Thrush

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For me the Wood Thrush is a bird I may often hear but seldom seem. Hanging out in those forests deep with green and hidden out of sight they have such a wonderful song. After listening to his song for several minutes this Wood Thrush flew out and landed on a post in a clearing for a minute or two before retuning back into the woods. Love the pudgy belly on this one.

 

For the next couple of weeks we will be posting some of our favorite posts from the past as we take a small respite from the digital world.