I took a couple of people I know (a botanist and her husband) up to an interesting clearing I found sometime back in Indian River Valley. I was hoping to get some insight into why the place was different and what was growing there. It was a fairly wet trip, but informative for me.
Weather: It was overcast throughout the day with a brief breaks in the clouds in the evening. There was little rain, but the woods were saturated with rain from the previous days. Flowers in the muskegs showed the effects of heavy rain yesterday. There seemed to be little wind at the house or in the valley.
Birds: I heard a new for me variation on the Townsend’s Warbler call on my way down Indian River Road.
On the way to the clearing, there was one sapsucker nest with nestlings. Normally I am used to hearing more than one in the area we covered, so I do not know if it is a low number this year or if that nest just happens to be an early one.
While in the clearing we observed a Red-breasted Sapsucker flying out and catching insects on the wing. I think that’s generally called hawking.
On the way back we seemed to upset a couple of Steller’s Jays. Perhaps they had a nest around. One of them made a call I had never heard before. I did not know what it was until it started making a more typical jay call a few seconds later.
Flora: Plants are blooming pretty well in the muskegs. Three-leaf Goldthread is at or past its peak, cloudberry and bog rosemary, are going strong but perhaps not at the peak. Bog laurel, buckbean, and some sedges have a pretty good start. I also saw bog cranberry, orchids and nagoonberries in the early stages of blooming.
Other Notes: There were a couple of different locations we passed with obvious bear activity. There was a trail that looked like it had been used sometime in the last week or two at the edge of the meadow. On the way back we went up and over a small rise and at the top of the hill was a lot of old bear scat with lots of deer hair. It also looked like the bear had done some scraping/digging.