Saturday, July 28, 2012

To the Knob Again

Kodi and I hiked to Rattlesnake Knob again this morning, although an hour later at 9:30 am. It was still muggy, but hazy with some sun, so it felt hotter. The woods were different this morning, a day later and just an hour later into the morning.

The pewees called again, but seemed more muted; the hermit thrush was silent. I heard a red-eyed vireo and a chickadee. Climbing the steep part to the Knob, along the section of trail lined by many interesting plants--spleenwort, Christmas fern, hepatica, bear corn, among others--I saw millipedes. They were out foraging on detritus in the trail. I did not see them yesterday. They prefer dark, moist places, but perhaps the humidity brought them out to the trail. Here is one curled into a tight, protective coil with a chunk of detritus still in its mouth.
This is the common, North American millipede (Narceus americana), a beautiful 2-3 inch long, and thicker than a pencil, arthropod (not an insect) with reddish bands, and many, many feet. I saw three on the trail. There must be many more in the woods as they have much work to do, breaking down leaves, flowers, and other woodland debris and recycling the nutrients back into the soil.

The round trip hike to the top of Rattlesnake Knob takes one hour, with time for listening to birds, kneeling to see a millipede, pausing for a photo. On the return leg Kodi always trots ahead where I find him lounging in a cool woodland stream.
By 1:00 today the rain started. Finally a long, soil quenching rain that has continued all afternoon. This is a steady, straight down rain, soothing to our ears. We'll sleep comfortably tonight now that the rain has come.

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