Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Great Day for a Nice Long Ramble

Oh my gosh, November already!  Well, you sure wouldn't know it by the weather!  What a string of warm lovely days we've had, and Monday continued in the same pattern.  I went up to Mud Pond to enjoy that bright blue sky over my head and surround myself with what's left of autumn's gorgeous colors.  Despite a bit of rain now and then these past weeks, the water in the pond continues to be lower than I've ever witnessed it, creating a broad stretch of dry beach that allows for walking completely around the pond right next to the water, so that's what I did on this day.

It looks like the beavers have tried to build a new lodge further out from shore, but even out there, I doubt that the water is deep enough for them to create an underwater entry.   Hmm.  Does anyone know what beavers do in situations like this?

The muddy shoreline was carpeted with many different kinds of mud-loving plants, including this pretty green liverwort called Ricciocarpus natans.  I was delighted to find this little black-spotted yellow beetle scurrying around the liverwort's many "leaves."  I think it's a Spotted Cucumber Beetle, and I wonder if it dines on liverworts as well as cucumber leaves.

I was surprised to see so many dragonflies darting about, especially to see them engaged in mating this late in the year.  On almost every fallen log I found basking Autumn Meadowhawks.  Most flew off before I could take their picture, but this couple were too busily occupied to notice my intrusion.

It was just so glorious to stroll along under that sapphire sky, surrounded by blazing oaks that seemed to broadcast warmth from their very color.  As I stood gazing at all this splendor, I was struck by streaks of light in the air all around me, the sunlight glinting off myriad threads of spider silk soaring through the air.  Undoubtably, each thread most likely carried along a tiny baby spider, lofting on the barest of breezes as the young dispersed from the nest.

There was no way my camera could capture an image of all those glinting silken threads,  but here and there I found pondside plants that had captured some of these threads among their stalks.  If you click on this image, you might be better able to see these delicate strands.

When I reached the narrowest part of Mud Pond, I discovered I could step right across the pond by crossing this narrow channel.

For my return, I moved into the woods, delighted by the golden light of sunshine passing through the yellow leaves of Sugar Maples, Bigtooth Aspens, and American Beeches.

Here and there in the midst of all this golden light, a bough of Red Maple would thrust its scarlet leaves.

The forest floor was like a Persian carpet worked in all the colors of the leaves.

In all this preponderance of red and gold, how lovely to see these bright-green accents of ruffled Tiarella leaves.  (I'm not sure what the whorled leaves are.  Perhaps one of the Bedstraws?)

Some club mosses, too, provided pretty touches of green.  This one is called Tree Club Moss, and it does look like a miniature conifer, doesn't it?

Here's another Club Moss, this one I know as Digitatum or Fan Club Moss.  It has several other common names as well, among them Princess Pine.

I'm still researching the name of this handsome orange fungus, a stalkless gilled bracket fungus growing out of a rotting log. It was soft and flexible, with  a rather furry texture on top.

Update:  I'm pretty sure this is Orange Mock Oyster (Phyllotopsis nidulans), which is widely distributed in North America and grows on both hardwoods and conifers in the fall.  Some sources mention a foul odor, while others say they detected no bad smell at all.  I did not.  It is not related to the common white Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus sp.), a choice edible.  No one has tried eating the Orange Mock Oyster, apparently because it stinks.

I don't think I have ever seen Doll's Eyes (White Baneberry) without its "eyes," but there was no mistaking its chubby hot-pink pedicels.

When I emerged from the Mud Pond woods, the afternoon was still early, so I continued along Spier Falls Road to where it comes close to the Hudson River.  Here, I pulled off into a boat launching site to marvel at the beauty of the river on this spectacular day.  Right below the parking area, a little island seemed to float like a raft in the shadow of the mountain rising beyond the far bank.

At every point along the driveway, another beautiful vista met my eyes.

This was the view looking downstream.  I was happy to see the river was once again filled to its banks, after having been nearly drained for several months while work proceeded on a dam downstream.

The quiet river offered an almost perfect reflection of the still-gorgeous hills.

Oh darn that end of daylight-savings time!  The afternoon was still young, but already the lengthening shadows reminded me that I had groceries to buy before I could prepare dinner.

It was hard to leave this place of exquisite beauty.  So I pulled over again for one last view.


The Furry Gnome said...

What a glorious day you had. That's a very interesting liverwort, and great scenery! I'd do the same here, but it's deer hunting week and i stay out of the woods!

catharus said...

Once again, some lovely photos!!!