Not great videos, mind you, but you can catch the motion of the little trunk hoppers:.
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Quick Nuthatch Clip. Quick Red-bellied Woodpecker Clip. And by the time I was done writing and birdwatching starting to feel fairly competent with my binoculars , the sweat had evaporated out of my shirt, so my upper half was refrigerator chilled, and my butt was numb with cold. Totally worth it, but time to get moving again. I hiked the one mile loop in an hour and twenty minutes total, moving at a pace easy enough to touch the trailside trees with gentle gratitude, marvel at a flock of migrating robins in the canopy, and take a few more pictures.
It was sublime. This moss grows at the base of a trailside tree. Up close it looks like a field of emerald stars. Back at the parking lot meadow, the fog was finally beginning to lift. The silvery mist of morning rose like a curtain to reveal another golden autumn day. Friday was my day to check the salamander traps at Flag Ponds. Citizen science for the win! Educating kids about nature for the championship! Hit the trails, of course!
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- Latvian swamp Kemeri bog in the morning mist is incredible.
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- Über die ästhetische Erziehung des Menschen in einer Reihe von Briefen: Reclams Universal-Bibliothek (German Edition).
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The best shots from the South Ridge and North Ridge trails on this particular day were of weaving ladies and fun-guys. Get it?! Nerdy science puns rule. Efficient and capable from the underside, but absolutely stunning from the topside! Her abdomen was sunflower yellow marbled with chocolate brown, contrasting nicely with her eight flame red, cream, and black legs. Watching the Marbled Orb weaver was mesmerizing. She used one of her back legs to stretch the silk out from her spinnerets as she crawled to the next radial strand, then tucked her abdomen under to secure the thread to the radial strand with a dot of spider glue.
Her movements were efficient and economical, looking more like Monday office work than Saturday night fever. I captured two short videos of her skills; check them out in the video links below. Marbled Orb Weaver 1. Marbled Orb Weaver 2. My Audubon guide and some image searches on Google lead me to believe that these convoluted, jelly-like masses are a fungus known as Pale Jelly Roll Exidia alba. The Exidia fungi are found on deciduous trees such as oak, willow, and alder. My idea of heaven necessarily includes an eternity to study nature in minute detail, unnoticed by all of the earthbound fauna.
This particular section of the North Ridge trail definitely burns the calories, though. Forty-five-ish steps climb from the bottom of the ridge to the top. Sure, I stopped half way up the steps just for the awesome view of the marsh and the Chesapeake Bay beyond. Not because I was dying or anything. I just love the curving, twisting contortions of the wood grain in this decaying log. The beginnings of a moss colony — green flecks at center left — and the Clinker Polypore fungus Inonotus obliquus — black swaths that look like charred wood — highlight the complex landscape of decay.
One of my all time favorite trail views.
This flat portion of the North Ridge trail is my dream of a magical woodland. I sense surprises hiding all around, but it feels as safe and friendly as my own bed. It will be a feast of sun rays in winter. This two foot diameter web was practically invisible until I was right next to it! I call all spiders Charlotte. To most of the Charlottes I was exceedingly polite, making no more indent in their day than that of a short, thick, oddly mobile tree.
This is what I think humans look like to spiders. Most of the Charlottes I met today looked like this. This is a member of the Verrucosa genus of spiders. Click for hilarious spider ninja video compilation. Meet Charlotte, the Micrathena. Spiders in the genus Micrathena have really cool, spiked, triangular bodies. These two trees stood about 20 feet apart on the left side of the trail. Happy anniversary. And I got you nothing. Annie took the plunger. You are full of it, after all. She thrust the plunger forward, gently prodding him with the red rubber suction cup as though it was a rapier and she the swordsman.
So like Annie. Where other women might have pretended the ridiculous plunger was a wand, she pretended it was a sword. Of course, Jean-Guy realized, he would never have given a toilet plunger to any other woman. Only Annie. As he spoke he looked at Annie.
Her eyes never left him, barely blinked. She took in every word, every gesture, every inflection. Enid, his ex-wife, had also listened. But there was always an edge of desperation about it, a demand. As though he owed her. As though she was dying and he was the medicine. Enid left him drained, and yet still feeling inadequate. But Annie was gentler.
More generous. Like her father, she listened carefully and quietly. With Enid he never talked about his work, and she never asked. With Annie he told her everything.
He told her what they found, how they felt, and who they arrested. Beauvoir nodded and chewed and saw the Chief Inspector in the dim cabin. Whispering the story.
So as the two homicide investigators deftly searched, Chief Inspector Gamache had told Beauvoir about the bathmat. And somehow deciding a bathmat was the perfect hostess gift. Her mother never tired of asking either.
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Her father, on the other hand, decided I was an imbecile and never mentioned it again. That was worse. When they died we found the bathmat in their linen closet, still in its plastic wrapping, with the card attached. Beauvoir stopped talking and looked across at Annie. She smelled fresh and clean. Like a citron grove in the warm sunshine.
No makeup. She wore warm slippers and loose, comfortable clothing. Annie was aware of fashion, and happy to be fashionable. But happier to be comfortable.
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She was not slim. She was not a stunning beauty. But Annie knew something most people never learn. She knew how great it was to be alive. It had taken him almost forty years, but Jean-Guy Beauvoir finally understood it too.
Category: Mornings on Fair Oaks Bridge
And knew now there was no greater beauty. Annie was approaching thirty now. Had made him part of the team, and eventually, over the years, part of the family. Though even the Chief Inspector had no idea how much a part of the family Beauvoir had become. She held up the plunger, with its cheery red bow. Would die together.
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