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A walk in the woods...

I really enjoy getting out and walking, and I've assembled a pretty big collection of places to do it within an easy drive around here -- a combo of various town conservation land and forests, state forest, and Audubon reserves. Fall is definitely my favorite time -- partly because of the beautiful colors, and partly because the temperature is just right for prolonged walks (and after the first frost, the bugs get killed off).

First, from several weeks ago (on Oct. 30), a brief walk in Broadmoor Audubon sanctuary -- catching some perfect afternoon light through oak leaves:


In the same light, white pine needles stand out:


A couple of weeks later (and last weekend), I went out for a "short" walk (after a morning of wildlife-care chores) in Jericho Town Forest in Weston. For context, here's what it mostly looked like:



A little late for most of the good, spectacular color. But hey, the beauty is in the details.

Like whatever the heck this is:


Lichen on what is probably either grey birch or european white birch:


Shelf fungus and moss on a slender dead trunk:


What I think are king boletus mushrooms amongst sphagnum moss:


An acorn amongst sphagnum moss:


Another slender tree with a lot of shelf fungus, moss-frosted this time:



Unexpected along a very slender side-path: a decaying wagon wheel and some of its hardware:


I think this may be witch-hazel: (but comments confirm it is more likely American beech):


Partridge-berry and a white-pine cone:


Could be more witch-hazel? (No, more likely beech again)


The path not taken (because afternoon was getting on, and although I didn't look at my phone to confirm it, I could tell by the way my knees and hips felt that I'd been out for long enough -- as it turned out, my "short" hike was 2 and a half hours...):


Maybe next time. ;-)


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 11th, 2010 06:46 pm (UTC)
Wow. I don't want your camera, I want your EYE. What lovely pictures, and what lovely walks. I love the idea of walking outside in New England in the fall. (Though I probably wouldn't do it. :-)

have you been out to walden pond lately?
Nov. 11th, 2010 10:02 pm (UTC)
You might do it if I dragged you out to do it. ;-) You should see if there are any woods on That Godforsaken Island.

I haven't been to Walden yet this fall. I think the last time I went was in the spring. It's definitely on my list of places I can choose to go, especially now that I have a map of the other conservation land that links up with it.

Nov. 11th, 2010 07:35 pm (UTC)
local woods
***Mmm, good.*** These are lovely, and making me a little homesick.

Witchhazel leaves are usually a little broader than that, and our native witchhazel blooms in November; you would probably have seen some blooms on the larger bushes. (Though it could be a garden escape with a spring bloom time.) I'm thinking elm, especially for the first one. The second might be elm, beech, or some kind of nut, based on a quick, slapdash look at leaf ID on Google. Alternate, simple, toothed. Elm leaves in fall are shades of yellow; beech are muted yellow and gold; walnuts and hickories are burning deep gold, very brilliant and saturated but somehow smoky.
Nov. 11th, 2010 08:27 pm (UTC)
Re: local woods
I think the latter is beech, and kinda wonder whether the former is too. Elm are pretty rare around here. but beeches are a dime a dozen.
Nov. 11th, 2010 10:08 pm (UTC)
Re: local woods
I think you're right, I think it's beech. The size was fooling me.
Nov. 11th, 2010 11:58 pm (UTC)
Re: local woods
Elm are pretty rare around here

Well, NOW they are. ::sighs::
Nov. 12th, 2010 02:06 am (UTC)
Re: local woods
Although actually, once you know what you're looking for, there are a surprising number of survivors in this area, particularly in Waltham and Belmont. (Or maybe the whole area, and I just notice them more here because that's my commute route.) Not of course as many as there reputedly were in days gone by, but more than just one or two. (Big old ones, too.)
Nov. 11th, 2010 10:08 pm (UTC)
Re: local woods
Thanks! Yeah, I posted that guess based on a quick look at something else while I was trying to identify the partridge-berry, and hadn't yet gone into looking for it. Since they were pretty low, I wasn't sure if they were shrubs or trees, either. But now that I look up witch-hazel -- no. I think yours and veejane's suggestion of beech seems most likely. (As she says, elm are pretty rare, although we do have them; walnut and hickory seem to have a different pattern of leaves on the twigs/branches. Walnut I'm used to, there's one beside my building at work. I know scale is hard from these pics, but I think these leaves are bigger than hickory, too.)

I wish I could figure out that first one, the reddish-orange one. The stems were very reddish and had very tiny thorns on them.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 11th, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC)
Yeah -- I am not a morning person, but there were a few times this fall where I had to be out and about in really early morning light. Sadly, I mostly get that view from the bus where I can't leap off and start photographing. (The morning with the BEST light, of course, where I was up earliest, I had to be at a meeting that I was worried about being on time for. Otherwise that would have been the perfect day to get off the bus early and take photos as I walked.)

I don't think we had a bad fall around here at all. Just that I somehow didn't get out for most of it. My favorite of this set might be that afternoon light through the oak leaves, the first pic.
Nov. 11th, 2010 08:11 pm (UTC)
I can smell these pictures. The humus, the rain on the bark. And I haven't seen a partridge berry since I moved to NZ, for obvious reasons. Thank you so much.
Nov. 11th, 2010 10:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Yes! I love the smell of the woods, too. Damp and earthy.

I only figured out that those were called partridge-berry today. Am glad to know. I always like seeing them.
Nov. 11th, 2010 10:35 pm (UTC)
Awesome shots! And yup, that's beech. :::hugs:::

And now I officially am off line. ;)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )