Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Beautiful Barks Along Bog Meadow

 Well, so much for our soft white snow.  Yesterday's all-day rain and today's high temperatures have destroyed all the snow and turned all the trails to wet mud by this afternoon.  Luckily, I did get out for a walk yesterday, despite a constant drizzle, choosing the Bog Meadow Nature Trail just outside Saratoga.  As this photo shows, Bog Meadow Trail is long and straight, and if one wants to walk quickly for exercise, this is a good place to do it -- especially when the trail's underlying railroad ties are thickly padded with a blanket of snow.  Even soggy wet snow.  I wore my waterproof boots.

I expected I would swing briskly along, work up a little healthy sweat, since there's not much to see in the woods this time of year, right?   Ah well, best laid plans and all that.  As it happened, the steady drizzle had dampened the tree trunks and darkened the bark, so that all the marvelous colors and patterns of lichenous growths on those trunks were more evident than usual.  Of course, I had to stop and admire the many variations. 

Some growths were a soft velvety green, with patches outlined in baby blue.

Others were speckled like the sides of a trout, with varying shades of pale green.

Or shades of blue.

Or bright emerald green traced with squiggles of rich brown.

This pale-blue patch was adorned with tiny black wormy shapes.

The base of one tree was speckled with large blue flakes.

This branch was covered with circles of both blue and green.

 During my walk, I focused my attention on only the flat crustose lichens, for the moment ignoring the frilly foliose lichens, as well as the many mosses that decorated the trees.  This abundant fluffy growth at the base of a tree did cause me to pause, however, and take a closer look.  Is this a moss, I wondered, or could it be a liverwort?

My eyesight is too compromised to distinguish moss from liverwort with my naked eyes, but a macro shot with my camera revealed the overlapping leaves of one of the liverworts in the genus Porella.

Stopping and starting along the trail as I did, I did not work up much of a sweat.  But I was out there long enough to get drenched by the constant drizzle that, after a while, set all the twigs to dripping.  Not wanting to risk wetting my camera, I packed it away and headed home, wondering how many exquisite variations on a theme of lichens I had missed.


Wayne said...

What a wonderful theme! I have been inside this week organizing wildlife photos for an upcoming deadline, thinking I was not missing much. I am so glad I checked your blog. You never fail to inspire. I'll be back outside very soon! For someone who talks about her "compromised eyesight," you see more beauty in this world than anyone I know. Thanks for sharing.

asita said...

Agree with previous poster!

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Wayne and asita, thank you for your kind comments. Knowing folks like you enjoy my adventures sure adds to the pleasure for me.