Friday, May 27, 2016

Barns and Blossoms

The blossoms have come and are nearly gone, but what a sight they were during their ephemeral stay.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Trillium Blanket the Woods

What a beautiful week we've had!  Warm daytime temperatures and sunshine have transformed tiny, unfurling trillium blooms into full blown, mature blossoms. 

The white three-petaled trillium is striking against its deep green leaves. 

The trillium that carry a green stripe on each petal are lovely too, even though the coloring indicates the plant is infected with a virus.

Trillium that are clumped together are especially striking.  I commonly see these patches along shady roadsides.

In heavily wooded areas, trillium grow around fallen tree branches and stumps.

They hug tree trunks too, as they do here against this interesting tree hollow.

But my favorite image of trillium is when they blanket the forest floors en masse and are highlighted by rays of sunshine. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Getting Closer and Closer

It's been an up and down spring with temperatures and precipitation varying widely.  There has been progress, however, with signs of spring becoming more abundant.

Many trees are leafing out; not enough for shade, but enough to cover the bare limbs we've been seeing all winter. 

Forsythia bushes, one of the first flowering harbingers of spring, are in full bloom all over the village and countryside.

Colorful tulips have joined the daffodils in brightening up gardens and walkways.

A few flowering trees, such as this lovely magnolia, are starting to appear throughout the county.

Marsh marigolds are blooming abundantly throughout wetland areas.  I saw these clumps in a roadside ditch near the Happy Hour.

These creeping phlox are spicing up this rock garden.  I love the tiny grape hyacinths that have added a deeper shade of purple to the scene.

What I'm really waiting for are the two stars of Up North springtime: the trillium and the cherry blossoms.  Masses of trillium are beginning to dot the hillsides, but most are still quite small and many are just unfurling.

Just four days ago, this was the only orchard I found in bloom.  It was enough to whet my appetite for more scenes like this!

Friday, May 6, 2016

A Fox and her Kits

I was just leaving the village when a red fox crossed in front of me a bit down the road.  I had my gear with me so I slowed and got it ready, hoping that the fox had stayed in range.  Little did I know the photo opportunity that was ahead of me. 

The fox had stopped in a back yard and was clearly eyeing me.

She then sat and put her snout in the air, perhaps trying to catch my scent.  She didn't seem anxious to run off, and I soon learned why.

Pretty soon a fox kit emerged from underneath a garage near by.  There appeared to be a den fashioned under one corner.  The kit was adorable!  I estimated it was 3-4 weeks old because it was beginning to lose its gray-brown coat for its red one.

In a blink, a second kit emerged from the den, as cute as the first, but a bit larger.

Soon the two began playing aggressively.  Such ferociousness!

And then a third kit emerged, but it was more submissive; it was quickly on its back at the beckon of the other two.

Mother fox went over to the den and one chubby little kit began to nurse.

There was some nose touching between one of the kits and the mother, while the second one was burrowing under its sibling. 

More nurturing went on between the three kits and the mom.  They even moved a way out from the den, and a fourth kit emerged too, but I never could get all four in the picture at the same time.

The kits went back in the den and the vixen sat and watched me a while longer before I decided it was time to leave.  I was fortunate to see this pack so close to town, but I worry that the proximity may bring too many viewers and perhaps even unwelcome predators.