Despite temperatures in the mid-twenties, 18 hardy souls enjoyed our walk at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship on Ground Hog Day. No mud or Ground Hog this year, but lots of frozen turf, ice, and a smattering of snow cover on the trails.
The group examined numerous bird and mammal tracks in the light snow covering and many Lepidoptera larvae in their overwintering ‘leaf houses’ attached with silk to the Spicebush and other plants along the trail. Everyone participated in discussion about the trees, shrubs, and history of the settlements encountered at BRCES; most enjoyed the light snow shower and the quietness of the woods that only Winter brings.
A few of the more adventurous participants even crossed Piney Run on the log foot bridge.
Highlights of the walk including finding Skunk Cabbages in bloom; Gold Crowned Kinglets in the branches overhead; many different plant and tree galls, 13 different bird species, and both European and Carolina Mantis egg cases.
Near the end of our travels, the sun came out just in time for us to better appreciate all the beautiful colors that one can only see on a sunny, snow laden, landscape.