Let that sink in a little.
Spring will finally be here tomorrow. This Winter has seemed especially long and hard. There has been snow on the ground in Mid-Michigan since the first of December. Many communities in the Great Lakes had both their coldest and snowiest winters on record. Winter is my favorite season, but I am ready for a change.
I had time this morning for one last Winter walk in the woods before the seasons changed over.
I decided to go to Chipp-A-Waters Park in Mt. Pleasant. I have a great love of Mt. Pleasant's parks and especially its trail system. For a decade (2002 to 2012), I worked as a seasonal maintenance worker in the City of Mt. Pleasant Parks and Recreation Department. For much of that time, my primary job was taking care of the trail system that runs along the Chippewa River. Many of my older photos were taken while I was working in the parks.
Here is some of what I found today.
|The view upstream from the canoe landing at Chipp-A-Waters Park|
|Recent evidence of beavers in the Chippewa River|
|Raindrops on a Boxelder branch|
|The Access Recreation Trail winds through the woods at Chipp-A-Waters Park|
At one point while walking through the woods, I could hear a woodpecker hammering away on a tree. After walking a little further, I was able to locate a Pileated Woodpecker high up in a tree. This is how most people see them if at all. They can be very difficult to photograph in the wild - which makes my experience photographing one last March all the more remarkable.
|Pileated Woodpecker - look in the very center of the picture|
|Looking out through the woods|
|American Beech trees often retain their leaves throughout the winter|
|The boardwalk out to the oxbow pond|
|Another view of American Beech trunks|
|Green Ash trees killed by Emerald Ash Borer are starting to topple in high winds|
|Ash Borer galleries under the bark|
|Fungus often invades these galleries, speeding the tree's decay|
|D-shaped exit holes from emerging Emerald Ash Borer adults|
|Red Oak leaves in the snow|
|Fertile fronds of Cinnamon Fern poking up through the snow|
Besides the Pileated Woodpecker, I did see several other species of wildlife during my walk including a Great Blue Heron, Mallard ducks, Hooded Mergansers, Black-capped Chickadees, Downy Woodpeckers, a Brown Creeper, a Red Squirrel, an Eastern Chipmunk (first of the year), and several Fox Squirrels. The only animal that I was able to get a good picture of was one of the Fox Squirrels.
|A Fox Squirrel|