Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Days of walking and not much sleep

Woodland sunshine along a rill, Senecio sp.

Diabase boulder field with fun plants like doll's eyes, bladdernut, American chestnut, and paw paw

Mystery Geum species along a wooded rill.

Transect with invasives removed, but no woody recruitment...lots of seeds in this degraded (pastured??, then logged and then clogged with multiflora rose) but diverse section of forest. Too many deer...

Blackhaw in bloom

My son needs break along the trail and we find last year's nests.

Warm sunshine, a good place, and company helps me keep going...

My son, 5 1/2 months, seems to be in the midst of a growth spurt...restless nighttime sleep with many of wake ups, short daytime naps, increased desire to be close and held, and bursts of newborn baby crying jags that make my husband and I nostalgic.

"Ohhhh, the newborn cry," we sigh as though caressing a Valentine from long ago--a soft, velveteen heart glued to a doily, signed in ink by someone whose sharp-edges have been softened by an aged pencil eraser.

Time and distance, time and distance makes all things better.

We rambled, despite poor sleep, far this weekend. "Just a short walk up the High Road to the transect, then right back," we agreed. Jared carried a short but awkward fence to place around Canada lilies that are overbrowsed (never flowering) by deer. I carried our son and an overstuffed backpack.

I've seen one Canada lily flower in the Sourlands since moving here about 6 years ago. We returned the the site many times and never found it again. We've since honed our plant identification skills in general and specifically for deer ravaged nubs, twigs, and dwarfed herbs. I can say that, yes, there are many Canada lilies in rich, moist woodlands near my home. Most have just one or two leaves, so stressed by deer browse.

Those of us who bite our fingernails can relate to the lilies--they try to grow, but then nip, nip...grow, nip, nip...grow, nip, gr, nip, nip...g, nip. Not much left to nip, but a misshapen shadow.

Driven by the misshapen shadows and memory of a single orange bloom in a tangle of multiflora rose, we walked on, photographing, observing. Of course, we rambled the long way home.

Showy orchis

***

Yesterday was much the same, though for the first half of the day we had more company. Here are images from our walk at Cushetunk:
Pennywort, another plant on the New Jersey Natural Heritage list

This moth(?) chased away a swallowtail 3x its size.

Wild geranium, beautiful and so named "wild" rather than "false" geranium, I wonder


Sarsparilla - a tremendous component of the herb layer in portions of the forest. A friend that I know well from the Catskills and rarely from the Sourlands. A treat to see it in bloom.

Perfoliate bellwort is often browsed at home, but we saw more robust colonies in bloom...browsed there, too, unfortunately

Along the powerline right of way we found:

Pinxter bloom azalea in flower. In the shaded edge with pale petals.

In the sun with darker pink petals.

The delicate branching pattern of our azalea.

Jared read that in the 1950s pinxter was the 3rd most common shrub at Cushetunk. Though looking hard, We saw no pinxters blooming in the forest. Under the canopy, the pinxter drops down to ground cover size. In the image above it is dwarfed by lowbush blueberry...in the forest, where forest nesting birds shrubs to raise young...

Too many deer.

The azalea can grow faster than the deer can browse it when receives extra shot of sun. Pinxter can grow 10' tall, maybe more, and in the sun at Cushetunk it was no more the 6.5' tall. More typically it was hip high.


Notice a theme? Good, now eat some wild hunted, Jersey grown white tailed deer.

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