Tuesday, March 23, 2010

First Day of Spring - Woods

Except for the lack of snow, the woods aren’t showing much sign of progressing into spring. There’s still plenty of opportunity to view the trees before the leaves get in the way.

The blanket of fallen leaves is still unbroken by emerging wildflowers. The leaves provide good insulation and the ground beneath is still quite cold.

These leaves are the food supply for a vast number of woodland organisms. Leaves that covered the ground last spring have all been consumed and the nutrients passed back into the soil. Decomposition of the leaves is quite slow during the winter, but once things warm up, the leaves will begin to disappear quite rapidly.

In another month the leaves will close off this view. The leaves will also provide shade and soundproofing, so this will develop into a cool, quiet place this summer. If this picture could show sound, you would notice the three most common sounds of the country; gunshots, 4 wheelers and chainsaws. Chainsaw noise is becoming less frequent, probably because it is a sound associated with work.

A few Crows hurried over while I was sitting on a log. From the sound coming out of the cedars on the next ridge, I’d say these guys are late for a mobbing. Some poor owl or hawk is getting the full attention of every Crow within hearing distance.

Signs of displaying turkeys are showing up in the leaf litter. Part of the male turkey’s display is dropping and vibrating the wings while making a short run in front of the female. The dragging wing tips scoot the leaves into short windrows.

I found one area with a lot of fallen Post Oak leaves. I’ve only found one Post Oak on the property and these leaves were nowhere near that tree. I know that leaves can carry a long way in the wind, but it’s unlikely that these came from the tree I know about. Unless they blew a long way from a neighboring property, I suspect I have another Post Oak somewhere near. I’ll have to keep an eye out for it.

I have a walking trail that crosses the creek in the shallow area just down from the exposed tree roots. Some parts of the trail system have bridges, but other parts require brief contact with creek water. It’s funny to watch people’s expressions change when they realize they may have to get a damp foot. If this was an amusement park, this is where I would situate a camera to produce souvenir photos of the creek crossing adventure.

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