Tiny Snow Critters and Other Stuff

Ann and Jeff on Redwing TrailAfter too much looking at a computer screen, and too much laminating of pictures for classroom presentation props… it was time for a walk outside.  Jeff and Ann came with me.  We went to the tower, then around Spatterdock Pond… a walk that would take a normal person about 20 minutes…  not naturalists, though…  Too much to see… too much to learn…

New GooseFirst we had to say hi to New Goose.  This goose showed up in late fall.  It seems perfectly healthy.  Why it didn’t travel with a flock, we don’t know.  We’d like to lure it to the backyard and introduce it to Wobbly Goose.  No luck so far.

Then we had to ponder berries and speculate as to why Ann’s Winterberry didn’t have berries.  Did the neighbor accidentally mow down the female shrub?  (Or maybe the male – so the female couldn’t get pollinated.)  Don’t tell anyone, but we sneaked a few berries into her pocket so she can try to plant new bushes at her house.

Winterberry Holly

SpiderThe most interesting part was when we got into the hemlock woods behind Spatterdock Pond.  We started seeing all kinds of tiny critters right on top of the snow.  For example, we saw at least 30 spiders in just a few yards of walking!  There were at least two different species… maybe more?

Another Spider

Beetle Larva?  Maybe?There were caterpillars, too, though I didn’t get a photo, and this weird looking thing…  a beetle larva perhaps?  (Jeff seems to think it is a Soldier Beetle – Cantaris fusca.  I’m not so sure.  It doesn’t quite match up with those in other photos.  See link to Bev Wigley below.)

 

Snow Flea - or Springtail...  I know it's hard to see - looks like pepper on the ground under a tree - but pepper that MOVES!The springtails were out at the base of trees, too… they look like pepper on the ground, but when you get real close, you realize they are moving.

This little Scout didn’t make it, poor old girl.  Found her on the ground just outside her hive. Those are Jeff’s fingers holding her:
Honey Bee

Wanna see more tiny snow critters?  Go to this site: Bev Wigney!

Turkey TracksOn the way back to the building, we pondered over turkey tracks, including one that confused us for a while, but we finally decided was Tom’s tail (not you, Mon@rch).

 Turkey Tail Drag
(Photography note:  as you can see, I haven’t quite mastered getting the snow the color I want it.  Still working with that notion of over-exposing for snow photos.  I’ll be working on that a lot this winter, I suspect!)

Is it Witch-hazelOh, and while I was photographing these yellow flowers and trying to decide – are they witch-hazel? – Jeff and Ann watched a mink playing in the snow on Spatterdock Pond.  I missed it!

Can you see how a 20 minute walk easily turns into an hour?

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6 thoughts on “Tiny Snow Critters and Other Stuff

  1. Looks like a fun walk indeed, and you got some nice photos of life in winter.

    Scenes with a lot of snow can be difficult to expose properly, since the camera’s meter usually wants to make things an average grey, and snow is much brighter than that, hence the need to “overexpose.”

  2. I always say I’m just going to the Park for an hour but nobody believes me anymore ;D

    Lovely shots-the Winterberry is my fave!

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