Up until Monday, when winter finally came, we've had warm weather that made for lots of walks in the woods over the long weekend. We walked with friends and family, C and I walked together, taking pictures with our new toys, and I walked alone in dusky drizzle. Before yesterday's snow the ground was alive with dried leaves, evergreen ferns, and moss. And also this dead crow foot. I found the carcass (wings, part of the spine, the upper bill and skull, and one leg, all picked clean of any flesh) a few weeks ago and learned that the boys had found it a few weeks earlier. It's hard to tell how long it's been there--it looks as "fresh" now as it did in November. I'm not even positive whether it's a crow or raven. And I wonder, what would take down such a large bird? Hawk? Owl? A mystery, but a kind of fun, creepy thing to find in the woods on a rainy day, which wit was the day I first spied it.
Leaving behind the dead bird, C and I found these gorgeous cinnabar polypore (Pycnoporus cinnabarinus) growing on a dead birch tree.
My parents got me a mushroom field guide for Christmas, but this one has me stumped (ha ha, get it?)
As does this one. I need to spend some time with the book, learn the organization and vocabulary (and actually bring it out in the field with me).
In addition to lugging the mushroom book into the field, it's the time of year I need to start taking the winter weeds book out, too. I think this is Epilobium.
And I can't help myself taking pictures of Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides) whenever I run across them. This is the only specimen I know of on our property. A friend of mine proposed a theory that it's name comes not from it looking a little-kid's-drawing-of-a-Christmas tree nor from the fact that it's green at Christmastime, but from the pinnae being shaped like Santa's sleigh. I think I like that theory.
What's wild in your neck of the woods?