Monday, July 13, 2009

Bracken and Blueberries

Bella and I set out on our midday walkabout down one of our favorite trails not far from home. We drove down the short dirt road, past the Nichol's fields. They were haying today given the recent string of dry, sunny days. We parked at the iron gate as we always do. As we walked the trail along the edge of a large wooded wetland (the subject of many previous blog posts), two red-shouldered hawks were calling loudly kee-yer kee-yer kee-yer, as they flushed from the edge of the trail.

At the bridge we stopped to watch the water rush by. Pairs of ebony jewelwings danced above the water. These damselflies dazzle with their black wings and iridescent bodies. We continued on to the meadow ablaze with wildflowers. The trail narrows again as it winds through a stand of shrubs and young growth of blueberries, bracken, gray birch, white pine, aspen, and juniper. The high and low bush wild blueberries were sweet and plentiful.

Lowbush blueberry, Vaccinium angustifolium

Highbush blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum

This is where the ruffed grouse are staying safe and finding good food. We flushed a family of them. One flew into the gray birch. You might just pick it out in the top center of the picture below.
The seasons still seem a little confused. The long cold, wet spring and early summer has moderated into fall-like summer days. The bracken fern is turning yellow, red maples are showing their reds and yellows.

Bracken (fern), Pteridium aquilinium

Seems premature to be thinking fall colors, but these are perfect days so I won't complain too much. Listening to the rufous-sided towhee singing "drink-your-tea" from the underbrush, I can't help but think ahead to some afternoon Indian tea with snacks. Until then I'll enjoy a few more fresh wild blueberries as we pass by, leaving plenty for the grouse and other animals.

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