A Walk in the Woods and the Water

With a weekend where both days were at 80 degrees, a walk in the woods and the water seemed to be called for. Spring days like this should be taken advantage of.

On March 12th I had waded down to the mouth of a creek and on the point where the creek meets the river was a nesting goose. That’s the blurry shot at the top of this post. I thought this was far too early, but what do I know about geese. I do know I haven’t seen another one on a nest till a couple of days ago.

Saturday I thought I’d go check out the goose. I had made the decision to fish my way down to the point, but the fishing got boring and I decided to just stroll. Off in the distance I could see a goose in the water below the point and swimming around it were little yellow objects. As I got closer they all jumped up on the point and when I got to the point, all I could see was a goose head and neck sticking out above the brush keeping an eye on me. I’m sure the gosslings were tucked up under the goose.

Turning around, I became very aware that I was being watched. This one was giving no ground and I gave it some distance out of respect. Those that have followed this blog along for a few years have probably seen the stories about my run ins with nesting geese in the past.

I had no interest in reliving those moments.

I wandered along a shore and took a gratuitous shot down the river on a nice day.

As I started to wander down the shore again, I heard a low hiss. I immediately stopped in my tracks. My previous run ins with geese have burned that hiss into my memory. I stopped a few feet shy of stepping on this.

I’ve seen that look before too. I didn’t have much time to get out of the way before all hell broke loose.

Sunday I decided to go wander a big flood plain on a small creek to see if the Virginia Bluebells and other wildflowers were in bloom. If you like to wander around in the woods and you know a place where the Virginia Bluebells cover the forest floor like a carpet for as far as you can see, next weekend should be perfect.

Today there were a few blooming, but most were still thinking about it. An unknown little white flower was less shy.

And no, I won’t tell you my spot. As far as I can tell I’m the only one that goes there. For well over a decade, I’ve never come across another foot print and I like it that way.

On the way out I walked along the base of a steep hill, I guess you could call this a bluff, it’s that steep. Flowers on the hill caught my eye. I’ve never noticed this before, but there’s a good chance I’ve never walked along the bottom of this hill in the spring before. I’ve never seen these anywhere else and they were only growing on this steep slope.

I have no clue what they are and don’t have a clue on how to even start searching for what these might be. I’m hoping somebody that sees this (ahem, Walt Franklin) will know right off the top of their heads.

I’ll be back here next week and expect to see the bluebells in full bloom. That weekend I’ll also be making my first foraging foray for wild asparagus. If time allows, I’ll also be checking out a potential treasure trove of fungi, morels and chicken of the woods.

Funny to me, I have your typical full time job and with commuting and working, I’m gone twelve hours of the day. If I were to retire tomorrow, this time of year my wife still wouldn’t get to see me for twelve hours a day.

I’m sure I would be out wandering around somewhere.

Every day.

8 thoughts on “A Walk in the Woods and the Water

    1. Ken G Post author

      Everyone says they’re Dutchman’s Breeches Rick, but I still think they look like a colorful fly.

      My wife said the same thing you did about them being orchids. I’ll have to do a little more reading and see if they’re somehow related.

  1. Karen C.

    Believe this plant is called Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria). Those feathery leaves are the key. Such a unique looking flower.

    From Dick Young’s wonderful book on Kane County plants, “Dutchman’s Breeches — common– in undisturbed woods. What a springtime joy to see these dainty plants send out their laundry poles of little, billowing britches in April and early May. The whitish blue cast of the lacy-cut leaves form attractive short-lived colony blankets on the woodland floor after the blooming season is past, and this special plant is easily appreciated by tiny tots as well as adults.”

    1. Ken G Post author

      Thanks Karen. I just got another notice letting me know they are Dutchman’s Breeches, but I don’t see the breeches. I thought they looked like some kind of fly.

      They can’t be too common since I can’t recall ever seeing them before, but they may have a short bloom time and I’ve just always missed them. Mr. Young would be correct about the undisturbed woods. Nobody goes here. It’s not easy and I think for most it would technically be illegal. I seem to be lucky while out there, meet people and chat and the next thing you know they’re telling me I could come back whenever I want and wander around.

      Also learned that the seeds of these are spread by ants. Ants seem to like them for some reason. If I ever get a chance to retire, maybe I’ll learn the details of what I see. For now, documenting it all will have to do.

    1. Ken G Post author

      Remember Howard, I tend to look down a lot to keep away from that Shit that Trips Me.
      So yes, looking around helps on many levels.

  2. Walt Franklin

    Ken, those flowers are, indeed, Dutchman’s-Breeches, with scientific name correctly stated above. They’re named for their resemblance to unside-down pantaloons, according to my field guide. Anyway, a nice find. Ours are not yet in bloom around here. Now keep your eyes out for another poppy family item, the similar Squirrel-Corn which should be growing in the same habitat and blooming nearby.

    1. Ken G Post author

      I love it when you make me look things up Walt. Of course I looked up Squirrel Corn. I recognize the leaves and they are in that area, now I’ll have to keep an eye out for the flowers. This coming weekend might be a good time to look.

      Breeches, pantaloons… I still say they look like flies. Pretty, colorful flies.


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