Thursday, March 4, 2010
Microviews Along Bog Meadow Trail
Today started sunny and calm, but the weather changed to dark and windy by the time I got to Bog Meadow Nature Trail. This trail, located just east of Saratoga, runs about two miles through forested wetlands and open marsh, and I'd gone there hoping to maybe hear a Red-wing Blackbird. Their shrill conk-a-reee-ah! is such a sure sign that spring is on the way. But all was quiet, except for a cold wind rattling the branches of Speckled Alders and worming down into my ears. So I pulled my scarf tighter and picked up my pace. Might as well get a little aerobics, I thought. No point in poking along looking for things, this gray-and-brown time of year. I thought.
But I guess I'm incorrigible. I hadn't gone 20 yards before I was down on my knees. Ooh, look at these tiny lichens! Aren't they adorable! No doubt they are some kind of Cladonia, perhaps Mealy Pixie Cups (C. chlorophaea). There are more than a dozen species of Pixie Cups that can't be told apart visually, but only by chemical testing. Whatever their scientific name, they sure are cute!
I've had a cruel disappointment this year regarding my eyes. Despite surgeries to both my retina and lens, my sight grows ever worse. Anything down at my feet is a blur and what's worse, I can hardly tell when my camera's in focus. But happily, I can still see color, and this tiny red Dewberry leaf caught my eye and stopped me dead in my tracks and down to the ground for a closer view. How lovely it is, on its bed of soft green Sphagnum moss. (Be sure to click on this photo to get the full impact of that beautiful red and the marvelous starry texture of that moss.)
It was just dumb luck I happened to see this pod of a Canada Lily. Brown against brown, it hardly stands out from the background. But it grows on a slender stem about three feet tall and was waving about in the breeze saying Hey look at me! and so I did. I had seen these pods several times before, but I never noticed the thready network that connects the split sections of the pod. How dainty and intricate! Like the fairies have been at work with tiny crochet hooks.