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I canceled February's walk on account of we had more snow on the ground than any other time in history, and I didn't feel like walking through it more than I already was. We had a fair amount of melt in late March, and I was feeling good about seeing what creatures were out on the last Sunday of the month. Then on the Saturday before, it snowed again. In the Blue Hills, where the walk was planned, they got about 3 more inches. A friend and once-frequent Urban Nature Walker was going to be working at a maple sugar festival at Brookwood Farm in the Blue Hills, so that's where we went.

Above you can see the grounds of Houghton's Pond Recreation Area, complete with fresh blanket of snow and incongruent obsolete technology. We parked here and took a shuttle bus to the farm.

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The event was run in part by the nearby Blue Hills Trailside Museum, a Mass Audubon Sanctuary that has several unreleasable native animals, including this peregrine falcon. (I volunteered there early in my animal care career).

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There were a number of activities to educate and entertain, including this axe-throwing game.

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Soon we diverged from the planned activities to walk the trail and do a little nature walking. We found lots of signs that showed white-tailed deer had preceded us.

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These tracks showed that a fisher had loped through sometime in the previous night or early morning.

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We tried to identify a shrub: it looked like a blueberry bush but was very tall. This gall confirmed our suspicions. This was the nursery for a bunch of tiny blueberry stem gall wasps, Hemadas nubilipennis.

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My friend Alexandra stops to look at the multitude of mushrooms bristling on this standing dead tree.

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They're probably too old to identify, but a good guess would be the violet tooth polypore Trichaptum biforme.

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A living tree shows a bloom of the same or very similar fungus emerging from a dead patch.

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Another tree shows the unnatural growth of a string of barbed wire, absorbed into its bark.

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We went off-trail into the deep snow to look at vernal pool (also covered with deep snow) and got this shot of most of the group, trying to catch our collective breath and shake the snow from our boots.

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No matter what the snow conditions you can find some lichen: this one is Porpidia albocaerulescens.

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Near the wetlands area were tracks which I assume were muskrat, slipping into the muck at the base of some cattails.

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On our way back to the farm, dwarfed by Great Blue Hill.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
wandererrob
Mar. 30th, 2015 12:01 am (UTC)
What is that strange device on that post? :)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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