Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fox, Coyote, Morels, and More!

Finally I caught a coyote on the Truth Cam.  
Years ago before I had a digital camera, I would sneak off into the field, usually crawling in the tall grass, to take photos of the fox families that lived there. 

The first three pictures are copies of the photos I took long ago.  I came across this little guy just walking in the woods, he came up quite close to me.

Then the coyotes moved in and we didn't see much of the fox.
With the Truth Cam these last 10 months, I've gotten lots of shots with fox in the picture, but no coyote.  Just once there was one blurred shot of what looked like a fox flying through the air and the backside of a coyote. These pics are a little bit better, at least I can tell it is a coyote.
From the Truth Cam

It really is amazing what lives here in our woods.  Here are a few more animals I've caught in the last few months.







People often think when we are out wildflowering that we are looking for morel mushrooms, rarely do we see morels.  Mike mowed the lawn for the first time this year on Saturday and he kept coming in bringing me morels that were growing right there in the lawn. 
We have never eaten morels.  Growing up I ate plenty of stump mushrooms.  I looked up the best way to cook morels, and Mike put a steak on the grill.  Here are some shots of the morels.

They were good but the slugs I cleaned off them sort of turned my stomach.

So many adventures (I'm NOT complaining), so many posts to create, so little time!  I find I get more done if I stay away from this computer! 
Real life, not virtual life - right?    :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Southwest Michigan

April 09 2012  
Fred Russ Forest and Dowagiac Woods
First the Fred Russ Forest, this is a new park for us (my sister Marie and me). We left my house at 7:20am, it was 44 degrees.  It took two hours  to get to Russ Forest from home.

Along the way

Russ Forest Park on Dowagiac Creek

There are huge Tulip Trees here at Russ Forest.  This is part of one that blew down in a storm but there are many more alive and well in the forest.

 Dowagiac Creek has Brown Trout, I don't know much about Brown Trout but I do know how to fish for Bluegills (Lepomis macrochirus).

 Marsh Marigold


Golden Ragwort

Dowagiac Creek

 Skunk Cabbage leaves

Newton Woods (Fred Russ Forest) is a Registered National Landmark.

Below is a flowering shrub we came across and didn't know what it was, so Marie booked it.  She identified it as a Red-berried Elder (Sambucus pubens).

Red-berried Elder

We were a little surprised to find Paw Paw over head since we were in the forest not along the creek.
A lady came riding a horse down the trail and asked us about some blue wildflowers she had seen farther south on the trail.  Later we found what she was talking about, Blue-eyed Mary.

Eastern Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia verna) Figwort Family

We found some of the huge Tulip Trees, Tulip Poplar.

We met some one on the trail they told us there were the leaves of the Puttyroot Orchid near the trail by the big trees, we found the leaves.

Puttyroot Orchid Leaves

Trail Map

At the edge of a field we found Flowering Dogwood blooming.

Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)

New green leaves of a Black Cherry covered with red pointed galls?  We have seen this before.

This sign reads, Black Walnut  White Ash Black Cherry  Red Oak  Tulip Poplar    Machine Planted 1945-1946

 Near the parking lot we found English Daisy (Bellis perennis) a cute little garden escape.

So we found ourselves back to the car at 1:45 so ~ 4 1/2 hours in the forest. 
Fred Russ Forest was a great choice for the day.  The forest was wonderful.

Now a bit of a sticky wicket, it is about time to go home, 2 hours to my house and then another 35 mintues for Marie to get to her house.  Husbands waiting at home for dinner but...we are only 8 miles from Dowagiac Woods (Michigan Nature Association) one of our very favorite places to wildflower. 

So we head west to Dowagiac then over to Frost Road, we arrive at 2:14pm.  Luck thing I had the cell phone along (and that we both have very understanding husbands) so we called and let everyone know we were going to be very late, now if we can still walk (which wasn't a problem at all) we can relax and enjoy the woods and wildflowers.

Dowagiac Woods...
This is the old sign, it's gone now.  Below is the new sign.

Hepatica leaves


Wild Ginger

Large-flowered Trillium

 American Bladdernut

Many, many, trillium

Bellwort, I like the way the stems seem to pierce the leaves (Perfoliate).

Two-leaved Miterwort

 Marsh Marigold

 One late hepatica

 Dwarf Ginseng (Panax trifolius)
A whole bunch of Dwarf Ginseng, with their balls of white along with Mayapple.

 Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus glabra) tree

Through the pines and we are back to the car.  We got home exactly 12 hours after we had left that morning!  What a long and wonderful day!

Some info about Fred Russ Forest that I gleaned online-
Fred Russ Forest address 20379 Marcellus Highway Decatur, MI 49045

580+ acres of Michigan State research forest with 12 acres park land open to the public for hiking, biking, fishing, cross-country skiing and horseback riding. 

Russ Forest is also home of the largest tulip poplar tree in Michigan. Standing approximately 180 ft. tall, this tree has a 15 ft. circumference, and is over 300 years old.

Forty acres is designated as "National Nature Area" representing a virtually undisturbed mature oak-hickory forest