Monday, May 24, 2010

Lady's slippers on Stingy River Road

Around mid-day I walked Stingy River Road, a class VI dirt road located in a fairly remote corner of Epping and Raymond. The rarely traveled road crosses the Pawtuckaway River, a quiet meandering waterway that is now largely protected thanks to the Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire.

The road is not maintained by either town, but it is drivable in snow free conditions. I elected to walk as I was on a mission for the land trust, looking for invasive plant species. The woodlands on each side of the road shaded me from the mid-day heat. Along the way - deep in the forest -- I found a small population of Japanese knotweed just off the road, far from any human habitation or other noticeable disturbance except the very old woods road. My thought is that someone dumped a bit of fill and trash in this spot within the last few years. And as I've been saying over the past few days: invasive plants are moved in fill and other material.

Farther along the road I stopped for a drink of water and noticed a couple pink lady's slippers. This is a fairly common plant in our woods, but it is still exquisite.

 pink lady's slipper, Cypripedium acaule

The only sound I heard while enjoying the lady's slippers in the noontime heat were chipmunks. Stingy River Road is bounded on each side by a stone wall. Throughout New England chipmunks have adopted stone walls as one of their favorite habitats. Here, deep in the woods, many chipmunks called. We were noticing back home in our neighborhood that the stone walls seem empty of chipmunks. We thought perhaps a population crash during the past few years, but I'm thinking a neighborhood cat or two might be one culprit. Probably the coyotes, fox, and owls, take a share too. They will rebound.

Back home, as I expected the phoebes fledged from their nest -- all three were gone today. I hope they survive their first flights. The robin eggs are hatching today. I peeked in first thing this morning when the mother was off collecting insects. One tiny head was wiggling among the remaining eggs. By mid-afternoon a second one had hatched. The robin seems more alert than ever to our movements. With the temperature reaching the low 90s by tomorrow she'll need to keep the youngsters cool and go for food. It will be a busy time in our front yard.


  1. Very pleasant and well written blog. Makes me want to go hiking and see what I can find. We had a bird nest but a snake popped out of it one day so sadly no more eggs. Take care. W.C.C.

  2. Thanks W.C. I am just about to write about my lack of writing this week -- I am blaming it on the heat! So, nice to get your comment to boost my enthusiasm for today's entry.