You may notice a distinct aroma of hay when you travel through certain sections of the park. That’s Hay Scented Fern (Dennstaedtia punctilobula) you’re smelling.
This patch is where Upper Giorgetti and Trillium intersect (Jct. 6), but my favorite spot is where Strong Angel travels under the powerline. I love to cruise downhill through that stretch in the early morning—it feels like descending on a cloud of green fluff!
Here’s a link to a good guide to start you on identifying other ferns in the park if you’re interested.
I made a trip yesterday to Muddy Pond via the Park and Carriage Trail in search of some interesting photos. What a day! If you are interested in wildlife watching, stop and watch for a while at either Rocky Pond or Muddy Pond as you cross the power line on the Carriage Trail. There are some amazing critters there! Here’s a little summary of my morning (click on the images for a larger version):
I arrived at my location and was set up by 7 am (about an hour later than I wanted, but shlepping my 60+ lbs of gear up Pond Road was a good workout!) I no sooner got myself concealed and sat than the bird I had most wanted to see came to me right over the pond and carrying a large stick.
It’s possibly a young Osprey just starting to learn the skills of nest building… what he was building yesterday is best termed avant-garde sculpture!
After a couple attempts at sculpture, the Osprey glided over to the opposite side of the pond and sat in a tree for two straight hours presumably waiting for breakfast to swim under his perch.
Once my heartbeat slowed to a pace to where I could concentrate again I noticed that I had set up my blind about 10 feet away from a little dead tree snag that was being used by a Song Sparrow to announce his territory.
After an hour or two I discovered that this wasn’t just a territory, it was already home for a family. His mate soon dropped by with some breakfast for the nestlings which I couldn’t see from my location.
I had heard and suspected there would be some ducks with chicks at the pond and wasn’t disappointed. The first bird to swim past me was a female Hooded Merganser. There weren’t any chicks in sight, but maybe they’re still in the nest. I’ll be checking back in a week or two so maybe we’ll see some then.
To the left of my location was another larger (30ft or so tall) dead tree. I hadn’t pointed my camera in that direction because the light was bad from that angle, but true to form, about every species of bird at the pond decided that THAT was the place to hang out! One of them was this Northern Flicker that stayed just long enough for me to get off 4 frames… and then it “Flicked” off across the pond.
Muddy Pond is home to at least 2 broods of Wood Ducks. I counted one group with 8 ducklings and another with 5. Its always amazing to me how fast young birds can grow. Some of these guys are already looking pretty big, so probably will be just about ready to fly by the next time I see them.
I came to the pond intending to get some photos of some of the beavers there, but there was no sign of them… although they left plenty of evidence of their presence. Be careful around the pond— especially on a windy day. Some of them are really large trees that are about ready to go!