Friday, October 28, 2011

October Snow

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, with towering conifers laden with snow and needles of ice underfoot, where frost has thrust up from the sand.

 The leaves of Shining Sumac were Santa-suit red, trimmed with glistening snow.

And yet, the foliage colors of autumn still glowed along the edge of Mud Pond in Moreau Lake State Park this morning, where Sue and I met to walk around the pond.

We were hoping to find some Frostweed exuding its frothy curls of ice, but instead found it buried under a thick coat of snow.

The warm glowing gold of Beech leaves presented quite a contrast to the icy blue of the snow.

On the western bank of the pond, all traces of snow had melted away in the warmth of the rising sun. That sun had just cleared the hills behind us and was only beginning to cast its rays on the beaver lodge, which still bore a dusting of snow.  Although we found many freshly felled trees, we did not see any beavers moving around this morning.  We did, however, enjoy the antics of a solitary otter cutting through the still water, teasing us into trying to take its photo, only to dive each time we raised our cameras.

While we stood there watching for the otter, a small flock of Canada Geese came sailing in.  We could hear their musical calls long before they circled the pond and then splashed down for a landing.

A killing frost has finally shriveled most of the flowering plants, but the leaves of Checkered Rattlesnake Plantain (Goodyera tesselata) remain fresh and green all winter.  Sue was eager to show me a patch of this native orchid that she had only recently discovered.

Sue thought these fruits might be those of a Hackberry tree.  That's a tree with which I am not at all familiar, so I couldn't say.  I would have guessed they were some kind of viburnum, maybe Nannyberry, although the leaves are more like those of Witherod.  The berries are certainly attractive, dark-blue clusters dangling from rosy-red pedicels.

At least I had no doubt about the Maple-leaved Viburnum that spread its rosy leaves all over the forest floor.

Sue got right down on that forest floor to capture a shot of viburnum leaves backlit by the rising sun.

I was intrigued by this pebbly growth  on the trunk of a beech tree.  I have no idea what it could be, whether fungus or slime mold.  We've had an amazing year for such organisms, which are stimulated to fruit during years of abundant rainfall.  I wonder if we will have abundant snowfall this winter.  The snowfall certainly started early enough, and I heard we are likely to get much more tomorrow.


June said...

The red of those sumac leaves makes my heart beat faster! It GLOWS!

And slime mold needs a different name. :-p

asita said...

Oh so beautiful!!! I didn't leave the house during the snow on Thurday but I hear I will get a second chance after tonight's storm. Maybe I can catch some pictures too.

Ellen Rathbone said...

OH, how beautiful! And I hear another 10 inches of snow are possible this weekend, especially in higher elevations and New England.

I looked up hackberry - the lower margin of the leaf is smooth, while the upper half is toothed. Also, the fruits are more round than they appear in your picture, and not so clustered - with very small stalks. So, I think hackberry is out.

Louise said...

Beautiful snow shots, but, oh, I'm so glad that it is there, and not here. I love Winter, but it has no business coming quite this early. Hope you don't get snowed in, and that you keep your electricity, today.

Elizabeth said...

Wow, these pictures are stunning! White snow AND colorful leaves AND clear blue sky?? How wonderful. :) Also, those ice crystals with the sand are really cool.

Wayne said...

Jackie, How wonderful to see such stunning pictures when everyone else seems to think Autumn is long-gone! (I have been spending all my time in the Adirondacks and missing this blog too often. Time to pay more attention to the home grounds.) Those dark berries look like Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago)or perhaps a related Viburnum.

Wayne said...

Opps, scrolled too fast. All I could think when I saw your last photo was "looks like a tree with beech bark disease." But I neglected to read the caption before it, where you said it was a beech tree. Wish I knew more about the pathology of this terrible blight, but there are several fungi that infect trees weakened by the scale insects. Not sure if this is the waxy covering of the insects, or some fungus, but you might recognize something if you google beach bark scale.

catharus said...

Lovely photos!
Yes, I strongly suspect that those dark blue fruits are from some Viburnum. They look very much like a Viburnum in my locale; the leaf I can't be so sure -- I'd have to go check it out, but they may all be down by now, though I'll look on the ground.

Anonymous said...

words cannot do justice to the beauty of your photography - living vicariously this week - no chance to hike. Thank you

Raining Iguanas said...

Love the post as always-would rather enjoy it live. Work beckons.

Mike Whittemore said...

Just amazing, simply amazing!

catharus said...

The Viburnum...yes, based on the specimens in my locale and from what I can tell in Newcombe's, the relative shape of the leaves look too narrow for Nannyberry. I think you may be right about Witherod.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Dear friends, I'm sorry to take so long to respond to your many kind and helpful comments. We've been involved with a renovation project at home that has taken all my attention for a while. I just want to express to you how much I enjoy your companionship on this blogging journey and how much I appreciate the knowledge you share with me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.