November, 2019: Describe your walk by adding a comment below

Each time you go out and make observations for this project, describe your walk by adding a comment to this post. Include the date, distance walked, and categories that you used for this walk.

Suggested format:
Date. Place. Distance walked today. Total distance for this project.
Categories.
Brief description of the area, what you saw, what you learned, who was with you, or any other details you care to share.

Posted by erikamitchell erikamitchell, November 01, 2019 15:20

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11-2-19. Washington Valley Park, Martinsville, NJ. 2.25 miles today, 596.75 miles total
Categories: fungi, moss, fall leaves, miners

I walked a loop of two trails that I'd (mostly) never been on before in this park. I'd not done them mostly because I used to not be able to walk this far, so that was particularly nice. This is a wooded hillside. The far end had a discarded car, only the frame left, really.

I found 6 fungi, only one of which (violet toothed polypore) I could name (one was an ink-cap type that I'd love to know) and 6 mosses (though one might have been a liverwort) plus a frullania liverwort. I knew one moss (brocade). I found witchhazel and amazingly an indian tobacco blooming. There were leaf mines in wood aster, wineberry, and blackberry. And my "roadkill" of the day was an earthworm that drowned in a puddle.

Posted by srall 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-4-19. Rock Meadow and Beaver Brook Parks, Belmont, MA. 1.0 mile today, 597.75 miles total
category: whatever I could ID.

I took the train to my sister's in Boston (spotting a house sparrow inside the station in Newark) so that I could drive her old car home, to be my 16-year-old's "new" car. But first I took a day off to walk in the Boston area. First stop was this pair of parks just a little south of her house. It's an open meadow, a brook, then woods, and back again on a different trail, in a figure 8.

Interesting things I found included motherwort, black swallowwort, European euonymus, hazel, and a leafmine in a bush honeysuckle. As I got back to my car my phone died , and "my" car was my sister's old car, which meant no phone charger in the car! but I knew I was heading west next, and did so, watching for a gas station, where I was able to buy a charger. whew.

Posted by srall 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-4-19. Graverson Playground, Waltham, MA. 0.5 mile today, 598.25 miles total
category: whatever I could ID.

I stopped at a park by the gas station while my phone charged up a bit. I figured I'd look at the weeds at the edge of the ball field. But there was a little trail along the brook at the back corner of the park, and that led to, among other things, a stand of Aaron's rod, a plant I'd never even heard of before (and they are huge!). Also here were black chokeberry and European rapsberry. Very glad I stopped.

Posted by srall 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-4-19. Great Meadows National Wildlife Reserve, Sudbury, MA. 0.5 miles today, 598.75 miles total
Category: whatever I could ID.

I was heading west to this national wildlife reserve, which is the closest one to my sister's house. There was a pond, marsh, and low woods. I spotted several autumn meadowhawks, but otherwise the most interesting things were some clubmoss. There was standard moss, lichens, and a number of wetland plants, but nothing that I don't see often.

Posted by srall 2 months ago (Flag)
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I loved your investigations of the dead car. Maybe we should start a project for species found in and on old cars.

And what a fortunate place for your phone to die! It led you to a new plant. Better there than downtown Boston. I think your sister and mine are neighbors. Next time I'm down in Medford, I should go visit some of these parks that you have found.

Posted by erikamitchell 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-4-19. Castle Island Park, Boston, MA. 0.75 miles today, 599.5 miles total
Categories: shells, weeds

I was not thrilled with the wildlife reserve and wanted a change of scenery. In fact I wanted to look at shells. So I found the closest beach to that location, which turned out to be this one, in South Boston, and just south of Logan Airport. The planes were impressively close.

It was lunchtime, so I stopped at the lobster shack first, wading through a sea of starlings, gulls, house sparrows, and pigeons to do so. The lady eating at the table next to me was afraid of the birds and cringed so much I'm not sure how she actually ate anything.

Next I walked partway around the fort (tansy, nightshade and Galinsoga were unexpected here) and down to a bit of beach with charlock, cocklebur, some amaranth I don't recognise and, appropriately, Boston ivy. On to the beach proper where I found periwinkles (not something I see often) and european green crabs (also unusual) along with slippers and mussels and barnacles and lots and lots of kinds of seaweed, including a kelp.

Around the front of the fort (Atriplex here, and ring billed gulls), then past a maintenance shed (jimsonweed, sheep sorrel, clematis, ginkgo) to a beach on the lagoon here (surf clam, hard clam) across a bit of land, and down to my favorite of today's beaches (razor clam, european flat oyster (a first for me), and a big barnacle base that I thought was a sand dollar.)

Posted by srall 2 months ago (Flag)
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I'm really looking forward to checking out more of the parks in the Belmont area. There's Lone Tree, Shady Pond, Chester Brook, Storer, and Falzone, none of which I've been to yet, as well as Habitat (which I did last year).

Posted by srall 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-4-19 Belle Isle Marsh, Boston, MA. 0.25 miles today, 599.75 miles total
Category: whatever I could ID

I had time left on my epic day of exploring the greater Boston area and so picked this marsh near Logan Airport. The neighborhood looked a little iffy, and when I arrived there were 4 cars in the lot, each with a single guy sitting inside, which also made me leery. So I stuck to the edges of the mown area. Interesting finds included a dead bunny and some catnip. It was indeed swampy with reed and loosestrife (and lots of mugwort) and I would have liked to have felt safe enough to explore farther.

Posted by srall about 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-4-19 Coughlin Park, Point Shirley, MA 0.5 miles today, 601.25 miles total
Category: anything I could ID.

My last stop was this spit of land that kind of curls out behind Logan. The planes were landing overhead and looked low enough to touch. They are restoring the salt marsh here but there was a little trail down to the water edge. They have the European oysters here, and periwinkles, things I never see at the beach at home. There was some amaranth-y thing I don't know and sea lavender as well.

Posted by srall about 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-5-19. Great River Park, East Hartford, CT. 0.5 miles today, 601.75 miles total
Category: anything I could ID.

I noticed I had a bit of hole in my observations map around Hartford; apparently I never stop there on the way to and from New England, so on the way home with our "new" car I made a point of doing so. This was a park on the edge of the Connecticut River, right across from the blue dome of the Colt Armory, my favorite sight in the city. Some of the bank had been mowed/string-trimmed, but there were still some weedy bits. I found Mexican tea, Amorpha fruiticosa, cocklebur, henbit in bloom, Arabdopsis, sheep sorrel, willowherb, and blooming knawell, none of which are common at home.

Posted by srall about 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-5-19. West Rock Ridge State Park, New Haven, CT. 1.75 miles today, 603.25 miles total
Category: anything I could ID.

I wanted to drive to the top of West Rock, the mountain that the Wilbur Cross passes through in a tunnel, but it appears the access road is permanently closed. So instead I walked around Lake Wintergreen. It was a gray and drippy day, but the light was very interesting and I took some lovely pictures of the lake. I was just about the only person in the park (and I certainly didn't pass any other hikers).

Unusual (for me) things I found included watershield, a great blue heron, swamp rose, alder tongue galls, swamp smartweed, helleborine, golden ragwort, blooming witchhazel, and a chipmunk. But the highlights were pink lady slipper in fruit (I've never seen it fruiting and it was only the fourth time I've seen it at all), grove earwort (a new liverwort for me), and common apple moss (a first for me, plus I was able to ID it correctly myself).

Posted by srall about 2 months ago (Flag)
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On November 7 we drove to Maryland to visit my husband's aunt. On the way we stopped at the Serpentine Barrens in PA but I didn't find much of interest (and we didn't stay long as my kids were impatient) and then at the Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna River where there were bald eagles (but too far away for me to photograph well) and about 2 dozen people with massively bigger camera lenses than I had, photographing them. But behind all the photographers Katie and I managed to find a DeKay's brownsnake (a first for me, though I thought it was a garter snake when I found it).

Posted by srall about 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-8-19. Gunpowder Falls, Baldwin, MD. 2.25 miles today, 605.75 miles total
Category: whatever we could ID.

Chuck's aunt, Vivian, and I walked at this park near her house through a bit of farmland and then down a wooded hill to the "river" and back up again. She is very interested in nature, too, and much better at birds than I am (though we didn't see many). My favorite finds included southern lady fern (a first for me), Canadian ginger, northern maidenhair fern, sharp lobed hepatica, a Carolina geranium in fruit, and a Conocehalum liverwort.

Posted by srall about 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-9-19. Gunpowder Falls, Baldwin, MD 1.5 miles today, 607.25 miles total
Category: whatever I could ID.

The next morning I went back to the park, by myself, but this time walked in another section, which was entirely wooded and hilly. It was a lovely day for a walk, but there was not much in the way of surprises, plant-wise. The most interesting find was a leafminer in a tulip tree leaf.

Posted by srall about 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-9-19. Torrey Brown Trail, Sparks, MD. 1.25 miles today, 608.5 miles total
Category: whatever caught my eye

That afternoon Chuck, Molly, Katie and I went on "an adventure" and stopped at this rail trail to walk a little ways down to the river. Today was the day that all the white mulberry leaves were falling off the trees. I found a carrot-family flower that I couldn't ID (I've finally determined it is probably burnet-saxifrage) and a shrub with red berries that had me stumped. On the way back from the river we spotted two other people looking at the shrub, and they tried using iNat to ID it (as did I, with no success). Turns out this was @samanthaeff . I posted it to Facebook Plant ID as well, and by the time we got back to the parking lot I had an answer: red chokeberry (duh). Which I really should have recognized as there's one growing in my yard (but it's not nearly as healthy as this one was).

Posted by srall about 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-9-19. Oregon Ridge Park, Cockeysville, MD. 0.75 miles today, 609.25 miles total
Category: whatever I could ID.

The second half of our "adventrue" was at Oregon Ridge, where there is a nature-themed playground, a path with murals painted on the trees, and a very nice nature center. Interesting things here were jetbead and pawpaw.

Posted by srall about 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-11-19 Colonial Park, Somerset, NJ. 1.75 miles today, 611 miles total
Category: whatever caught my eye

I started out here walking the edge of a pond by the minigolf course. But I did not have boots on, and when I got to the feeder brook for the pond there was no way across that didn't involve wet feet. I walked around the edge of the mini course and then across the street to go around the larger pond with more of a mown verge. I thought I could just skirt it, but it turned out the brush was too thick and the ground too damp and I had to cut across the main golf course, carefully and awkwardly trying to avoid interrupting anyone's play. But eventually I made it back to my car. Interesting things I found included dodder, ebony spleenwort, winged sumac, swamp milkweed, swamp rose, bushy and little bluestems, and a great blue heron.

Posted by srall about 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-13-19 Tullo section Washington Valley Park, Martinsville, NJ. 3.25 miles today, 614.25 miles total
Category: anything I can ID in new section

I walked a few trails to connect sections of the park I'd not been in before. This is all a wooded hill with a brook at the base of it. I had not walked 3 1/4 miles in one shot without stopping to rest in over a decade. It is so nice to be in this kind of shape. Interesting things I found included seedbox (a favorite of mine), lots of moss and lichen, the same deer both coming and going (I think) and, of all things. trifoliate orange, right in the middle of the woods, nowhere near any houses. I have no idea how it got there.

Posted by srall about 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-14-19 Delaware Raritan Canal, Somerset, NJ. 3.25 miles today, 617.5 miles total
Category: whatever I could ID.

I walked upriver on a section of the canal towpath that I'd not done before. The lighting was beautiful (as was the weather) and this was the second day in a row that I walked over 3 miles. Interesting finds included something that I think was germander, turtlehead, mimosa, hempvine, groundnut, 3 kinds of Elymus, bladdernut, Asian clams, and crested elsholtzia.

Posted by srall about 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-16-19. Washington Valley Park, Martinsville, NJ. 1.0 mile today 618.5 miles total
Category: mines and galls, fruit, ferns, lichen, moss

I walked up to a hemlock grove here near my house, one of the few remnants left at all near us. Interesting finds were ditch stonecrop (one of my favorites) oak shothole leafminer, rockcap fern.

Posted by srall about 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-17-19. Lord Stirling Park, Basking Ridge, NJ. 3.25 miles today, 621.75 miles total
Categories: fruit, also fungi, lichen, moss, miners, galls.

I can walk farther now than I used to be able to, so I figured I'd check out the northeast end of the park. Of course I made two wrong turns to the south but I got there eventually. On the way back I spotted something on the map labeled "Plymouth Rock". It turned out to be an old car, which got me started taking walks to photograph abandoned vehicles. I also walked over to the southwest end of the park. Someday I'll go back and do the northwest.

I was concentrating on winter fruit and found tons: rose, honeysuckle, hibiscus, cleamitis, loosestrife, aster, groundnut, woolgrass, privet, beebalm, purpletop, indiangrass, goldenrod, thistle, 2 dogwoods, mountainmint, ironweed, queen anne's lace, healall, maleberry, wood reed, holly, 3 viburnums, barberry, steeplebush, monkeyflower, 2 milkweeds, sensitive fern, burning bush, little bluestem, bush clover, seedbox, agrimony, winterberry, vervain, beech, oak, beechdrop, hickory, horse nettle, poke, walnut, ailanthus, joepye, olive, chokeberry, ditch stonecrop, avens, bald cypress, burdock.

I also looked for the oak shotgun leafminer and saw it all over in swamp white oak leaves. And there was evidence o f beavrs, which I'd not seen here before.

Posted by srall about 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-18-19. Washington Valley Park Miller Lane, Martinsville, NJ 1.75 miles today, 623.5 miles total
Category: oak shothole mines

I wanted to see if the oak shothole miner was present in the chestnut oaks here on the top of the Watchung "mountain", as I'd only seen them in lowland trees so far. So I came here, only to find they'd just had a controlled burn, so recently that sections were still smoldering. Still, the trails were open and I did find oak shot hole, though mostly in white and red oak.

Posted by srall about 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-19-19 Washington Valley Park, south of reservoir, Martinsville, NJ. 2.0 miles today, 625.5 miles total
Category: oak shothole mines

I walked here to check the oak leaves and also photograph a wrecked car I knew of. Turned out there were three of them, all together. I also finally found chestnut oak leaves with shotholes in them.

Posted by srall about 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-21-19. Washington Valley Park, Tullo section, Martinsville, NJ. 2.25 miles today, 627.75 miles total
Category: whatever I could ID in new sections.

I walked here to photograph an old car (only one this time) but then to check out the "middle path" which I had never taken before. Only I missed the turn off, and ended up walking the southern path all the way to the other end then taking the middle one back. which worked out fine in the end.

I found a very striking ichneumon-y wasp, bright orange, with a striped abdomen and multicolored antennae, just hanging out on a small stone in the middle of the trail. There were also stump puff balls, and a lot of moss and lichens, the vast majority of which I can't ID. The trail ended (where I was supposed to get on it) in a neat little glen by a bubbling brook. The blaze in the direction I'd intended to go was missing, so it's not really surprising that I couldn't find it.

Posted by srall about 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-23-19. Farmstead Park, Liberty Corner, NJ. 0.75 miles today, 628.5 miles total
Category: wetland plants

I went to take a photo of a wrecked car here, but the trail has been closed by a fallen tree since last winter. However, years ago I bushwhacked out from the car, so I knew where to go to bushwhack my way back in and shortly found it. Then I bushwhacked along the river to the powerlines (though I had to go well up a feeder brook to find a spot to cross it) and came home along the road. I managed to avoid most of the rose and blackberry but was not so lucky with the stickseed, bane of my late fall hikes.

This was the car with the good-sized pin oak growing right out of the middle of it. I am getting good at spotting waterpepper in the late fall, even though the leaves are all dried up. The blueberries here still had their leaves, and along with the blackberries were a lovely shade of purple. There was lots of willowherb and some buttonbush plus steeplebush, all things I don't see often.

Posted by srall about 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-23-19. Dock Watch Hollow, Warren, NJ. 0.75 miles today, 629.25 miles total.
category: oak shothole, fungus

In the afternoon I walked with Becca and Katie behind our house to take photos of "our" abandoned car. It's nearly buried in the creek bank. At Thanksgiving, our waitress, who lives across the street from us, told us that it was her father's first car, and it washed back there in a flood when he was in high school. There was no way to get it back out. This must have been in the early 1980s.

On the way I proved to myself that all of our oaks, except the pin oak out front, have oak shothole leafminers. The worst were the swamp white oaks, but we also have black, white, and northern red, and they all had holes. Out in the woods the girls showed me a "toadstool" (might have been artist's bracket fungus) that was big enough to be a human stool. They also showed me the rotting ash tree with what I think is straps made of fungus growing between the wood and the bark. They figured it was just the dried up phloem. And they'd pulled much of it off the tree and brought it home a week before, announcing as they arrived that they'd brought me "a circulatory system"!

Posted by srall about 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-25-19. Garafola Woods, Warren NJ. 2.25 miles today, 631.5 miles total
Category: caught my eye

I parked at one park (East County) and walked down the road to our newest park (Garafola Woods), which is on a narrow, curving, through road with no shoulders. For us it's very quiet, which means about a dozen cars passed as I walked the mile back to my car. There was an abandoned car here I could see from the road, though it turned out to be two old trucks instead of one old car. After the cars I continued on past the house that had burned down last winter in a fire to which I had been sent with my squad to help out. They've torn down the remains but done nothing more with the property and it looks awful.

Here I found my first oak shothole mines in pin oak, a blotch mine in violet, something that stumped me at the time but I think now is just bugle, another weed by the water that has me rather stumped, a chestnut, and a blooming crocus (or, I assume, an autumn crocus, but even that is out of season at the moment).

Posted by srall about 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-26-19 Darren Woods, Martinsville, NJ. 1.25 miles today, 632.75 miles total
Category: weeds

I bushwhacked my way up the "mountain" behind the squad building. This is the Second Watchung Mountain, which is slightly shorter than the First, and there are very few parks on it, so I rarely climb up it. But there is another dead car up here, off the old service road to the radio tower (now accessed from the other side). I plowed through a thicket of dames rocket, then roses, ugh, then mugwort nearly as high as my head. But I made it. Actually, walking out was harder, as I went down the main road down the mountain, which is narrow and curving, with steep banks and no shoulder. I don't think I'll do that again, soon!

Posted by srall about 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-27-19 East County Park, Warren, NJ. 0.25 miles today, 633 miles total.
Category: whatever caught Molly's eye.

I went with Molly to get her flu shot this afternoon, and we had a few minutes before our appointment so stopped here to "point at weeds" as she calls it. She's getting pretty good at IDing winter plants.

No real surprises here, mugwort, rose, black walnut, black locust, honeysuckle, rose, goldenrod, aster, Queen Anne's lace. But it was nice to stroll around with her.

Posted by srall about 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-28-19. Buttermilk Falls and Washington Valley Park, Martinsville, NJ. 1.5 miles today, 634.5 miles total
Category: anything I could ID on the new sections.

I walked up the First Watching Mountain, took a little connecting trail I'd not been on before on the far side, and then some spur trails first to cliffs overlooking the dam (Buttermilk Falls) then down the far side of the mountain to the road and a weir. This is where emergency services usually park when someone gets injured by the dam, though I've never done it myself. So I decided to try to hike in to the dam from the road, without going over the top of the "mountain" but instead walking up the river valley. There was a trail of sorts for quite a ways, though narrow and crumbling and I would hate to have to carry a stretcher out this way (that's what firefighters are for). But then I ended up in a boxed canyon. And I am much better at going up than down. I thought I might have to go back out the way I came in, scooting on my backside down the steep parts, but instead I saw a game trail going up the lowest section of hillside and decided to give it a try. I had to use hands and feet much of the way, but I made it. At the top I hit the main trail, and walking out was much easier.

Interesting things I saw included a pretty pixie cup lichen, several kinds of hickory buds, coralberry, ebony spleenwort, what I think might be jetbead, dittany, waterleaf, lesser celandine with actual green leaves, a witchhazel in full bloom, pennyroyal, Carolina rose, and a couple things I haven't figured out. And there were Asian clams by the weir.

Posted by srall about 2 months ago (Flag)
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11-30-19. Coddington Farm, Warren, NJ. 0.75 miles today, 635.25 miles total
Category: winter ID of woody plants

I have a new book on winter ID of woody plants, so I went to this local park and took a slow stroll around photographing buds and twigs and bark on things that I know well but have never looked quite so closely at the details of: white pine, shagbark hickory, red male, northern red oak, black walnut, autumn olive, border privet, blackhaw, eastern red cedar, american holly, persimmon, northern highbush blueberry.

I also found two deer stands and a feeding station in these woods, and I've never seen them posted for deer hunting season; I suspect these are unsanctioned stands. We had someone fall off an unsanctioned deer stand in town two years ago and die;when he got caught up in his incorrectly applied safety harness. I hear it was a horrible call, and no one could find him as no one knew where exactly his stand was. Things are so crowded in my area it's tough to find spots where you are officially far enough from houses to use a rifle to hunt at all. If these were official stands they'd have to be for bow hunting, or be highly restricted in the direction in which they were allowed to shoot, as I could easily see houses through the trees.

Posted by srall about 2 months ago (Flag)
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It has been so much fun to join you vicariously on your November hikes--thanks for the stories! And big congratulations on walking over 3 miles for 2 days in a row! What a tremendous accomplishment!

Too bad about the creepy guy at the Logan airport marsh! It's so rare to run into such people when we're out walking. I guess now we know where they hang out. Your apple moss find was great! Such a pretty moss, but hard to find. The straps made out of fungus...I wonder if it was the hyphae of a honey mushroom? Dave Muskas, the mushroom guy at the nature center, pointed out some black "straps" in some rotting bark. I think he said it was from a honey mushroom, but I'm not entirely sure. Either that or a circulatory system....

I need to study up on the oak shothole miner. I'm pretty sure I've seen that, but had no clue what it was. We don't have many oaks here in Washington County, so I don't see it unless I actually leave town. Your hunting stand story about the guy who fell off sounds simply awful. Our neighbor hunts from a stand on our land. He's quite skilled and knows his way around a hunting stand, thank goodness. He prefers bow hunting, so he'll be back in his stand again this week, now that rifle season is over. I can't stand rifle season--having to stay out of the woods for weeks, plus the roads are full of slow moving pickup trucks with their windows rolled down and very creepy guys behind the wheel. Who toss fast food bags and beer cans out their windows.

Posted by erikamitchell about 2 months ago (Flag)
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A major advantage to having hunting be a smaller deal here, no slow pick-ups littering. NJ has a no-hunting-on-Sundays law, so even closed parks are open and (theoretically) safe to walk then.

Posted by srall about 2 months ago (Flag)
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the creepy guys lingering around parking lot thing does happen in certain areas, unfortunately including some fish and wildlife access areas too. At least they rarely go far from their cars but... yucky

Posted by charlie about 2 months ago (Flag)
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Fish and wildlife access areas around here are often places for drug dealers to hang out. Customers seem to know that's where the pick-up location is. They get annoyed if you pull in while they're parking. On the other hand, if you got there first and are trying to get your boat out so you can leave, they often jump out of their cars and help with the boat so you will leave faster. I don't know why the state police don't patrol the fish and wildlife parking lots more. Or maybe they do, but undercover.

Sundays with no hunting sounds great, at least for non-hunters who just want to go the park. But a lot of hunters I know can only hunt on weekends, so no hunting Sundays would be a bummer for them.

Posted by erikamitchell about 2 months ago (Flag)

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