Friday, October 30, 2009

Late-fall Finds Around Mud Pond

The clouds today were low and dark, and the wind was whipping the last of the autumn leaves off the trees on my city block. Not such a nice day to be outdoors, you might think. And you would be wrong. It wasn't raining, it wasn't cold, so a nice brisk walk around Mud Pond at Moreau Lake State Park was really very pleasant. The beeches and oaks were still ablaze along the sandy trail, and down by the water where beavers had worn their trails between the woods and the pond, the wind was moving in waves through the silvery grass.

In the sandy open areas where Bear Oaks grow, the ruby-red leaves of Dewberry covered the ground. Here and there, late-blooming asters presented puffs of lavender flowers.

I have no idea what to call these pewter-grey little mushrooms. Other than "lovely," that is.

The fuzzy green tufts of Running Cedar (Lycopodium clavatum) stood out against the tobacco-brown oak leaves littering the ground.

I love this stump. With its decorations of moss and mushrooms and scattered oak leaves. it reminds me of a birthday cake. Like one that was made for woodland elves and fairies. Or chipmunks and little red squirrels.

Hazelnut shrubs abound in the sandy areas under the power lines, and a few dried nut clusters still cling to the twigs. I gathered a pocketful, brought them home, and tossed them out to where I feed the birds and squirrels. I wondered if my city squirrels would know what to do with them.

And of course, they did.


Ellen Rathbone said...

Beautiful mushroom shot!

I have four hazelnut shrubs, courtesy of the Arbor Day Foundation, that have been in the yard (in one location or another - mine are rather mobile) for about 7 or 8 years. No nuts. I take some of the responsibility for that, due to my continual relocation of three of them, but even so, you'd think that by now there'd be some evidence of fruiting. HM. Maybe mine are all duds. Still, hope springs eternal, and perhaps some day I will have nuts like the ones you found!

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Hi, Ellen, thanks for your comment. I don't know why some Hazelnut shrubs bear fruit while others don't. Along Bog Meadow Trail, where it's pretty marshy, there are lots of shrubs but only a few that produce nuts, while the shrubs that grow in dry sandy areas around Mud Pond have hundreds of them.

Bird said...

Such a lovely study of autumn... or rather, the fall :) The colours of this time of year are glorious, not just the leaves which goes without saying, but the mosses and fungi too. What I love about coming here is that you don't just show us beautiful panoramas - you get in close and look at the tiny things that I love so much. And that tree stump is fabulous!