Monday, February 1, 2010

birch seeds on the snow

Walked along the Superior Hiking Trail today from Piedmont Avenue to Enger Tower. This section of the trail doesn't offer as many sweeping vistas as other parts of the SHT further west, but there are still some nice views. Chickadees, nuthatches and crows all active in the woods. I heard either a downy or hairy woodpecker but did not see it, and thought I heard crossbills, too, but I didn't see them and I'm not super confident on my aural crossbill ID skills. Lots of deer poop and tracks in the snow, but no actual deer. No other humans on the trail today, either--I guess all the outdoorsy people in town were out east watching the start of the John Beargrease sled dog marathon.

In the open fields the snow top was peppered with tiny tansy seeds, and in the forest it was birch seeds. It took me a long time to figure out what the seeds were coming from--alder? some conifer? some forb?--until I finally found an intact cone in the snow and some birch trees with low branches that still held some cones.

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