Thursday, January 11, 2007

A day I needed to happen

I had a wonderful day. Thank goodness for the Cincinnati Nature Center.
1025 acres of re-established forest, lake, wetland, prairie and streams...and I had it mostly to myself today. I wasn't out to go for extreme exercise, but I got it anyway. I went up a trail I have never gone on before, because the girls would have staged mutiny. I hiked for two hours, up and down valleys, across streams that smelled like they should (clean and bright), marveled at the silence, interrupted only by a dry leaf rasping against a trunk or the irritated call of a red-bellied woodpecker or white-breasted nuthatch. And lots of Carolina chickadees...and titmice...and robins...and golden-crowned kinglets.

At the Learning Log (a fallen tree at the Visitor's Center, allowed to decompose and invites children to discover all the life that can exist on an old log) a red-bellied woodpecker showed off his pretty red head.

Pam over at Nature Woman gave me the word for these little sprouts that I have seen before but didn't know their name. Seta.
A natural stairway, made of mossy stones.I officially love fungus. And need a field ID guide. Blue fungus. BLUE.
A seashell, or a rack line on the beach, or stacks of clouds at sunset. What a beautiful surprise.
I got a life bird 10 minutes into my walk. That makes for a nice time, doesn't it?
A brown creeper.
I never thought I would actually see one. Reading my Birds of Ohio guide, I assumed that they would be so camouflaged it was pointless to even hope. Guess again, Susan. They look like mice, scuttling up the trunk of a tree, then when they reach the top, they flutter down like a leaf to the base of the next tree.

I finally got lucky photographing a golden-crowned kinglet. These little pips are about as small as our largest hummingbird. And fussy and flitty. But there were a large number around me suddenly, so it was easy to get a good shot.

What a relief to find a stream unspoiled by human trash and slime. It even smelled good, like moss and wet stone and winter.

I was so inspired after my walk, after the girls got home from school, we made chocolate chip cookies. Well, one BIG cookie. I couldn't find my square pans, so we plopped it into a 9 " round cake pan. Gooey and delicious.


Anonymous said...

The fungus might be a turkeytail fungus, but I think there are a few similar types as well.

Anonymous said...

Where is the snow???

LostRoses said...

Oh, one big cookie, aren't you clever! Though I would have been tempted to eat more of the dough than the finished product.

Love your Red-bellied woodpecker, isn't that flash of red gorgeous?

Rachel said...

Wow! Great kinglet and creeper photos! Never been to the Cincinnati Nature Center, but it looks awesome!

katdoc said...

Ooh, ooh - Where did you find the Brown Creeper? I got one along the Ohio River on Dec 30 during the Christmas Bird Coutnt for my FOS (First Of the Season) bird, but I still don't have one on my 2007 Year List.

~Kathi, jealous

PS: Word verifications are getting TOO hard. "qlwmcpva"? Give me a break!

NatureWoman said...

Your Nature Center looks like my kind of place to roam around! I *love* the red woodpecker head. And seta - yay! What a great photo of seta! (Rats, I tried to enlarge it). I love your mossy stone stairway. And the fungus - how cool is that! I'm glad you officially love fungus!! There's so many to see!
Cool photo of your new lifer - congratulations!! Ohhh, I love your golden-crowned kinglet! The stream looks so peaceful I can almost smell it.
And I *can* smell the chocolate chip cookie - mmmmmmm!
P.S. I can't even tell you what my word verification word was the other day - I have to mind my manners, but must be blogger doesn't!

Mary said...

Susan, I so enjoyed your hike. the brown creeper is amazing. The waterfall really floats my boat! Wonderful photos and post. I can smell the cookie, too :)

The Swami said...

Swami tries to watch his language but sometimes...grrrr...BLOGGER IS A *@^#$%&* SWINE!!

It allows enlargement of all the photos except the waterfall (even though the cursor switches to a little hand when over the photo).

It looks like the perfect stream for bathing a yak.

Or for bathing Swamette. (In the summer of course).

The Swami said...

That sounds like a great title for a book or movie:

Bathing Swamette.

Coming soon to a theatre near you!

Anonymous said...

(Chuckling over the comment above!)

Love the Brown Creeper. One of my favorite birds. I've seen it twice in my life. 2005 and 2006. Never gotten a picture. The first time I saw one, I spent 15 minutes chasing it down a trail in Big Basin State Park. You can't tell me it didn't know what it was doing it went swirling up trees, staying just out of my sight as soon as I got the shot lined up, and then would move to the next tree up the trail.

I wish we had them in my yard -- we've got plenty of trees!

vicki said...

You take us on this beautiful hike and then feed us dessert? Such the lovely neighbor. The red head on that woodpecker is the most striking advertisement I've seen in recent days- he's a beauty. I miss the woodpeckers and flickers we had in Ann Arbor.

mon@rch said...

The nature center provided some wonderful birds and hmm, that cookie looks good! Brown creepers are a hard bird to get a picture of!

Anonymous said...

Hey! Where'd my comment go? Really- I said I loved your kinglet picture and that it looked like you had colored the gold in with a crayon. Hmm...

katdoc said...

Susan! Where are you? I have been blog-stalking you for days. Have you fallen and can't get up? Did you eat the whole big cookie and haven't been able to get off the couch since? Are your children holding you hostage? Have you been attacked by an Ivory-billed Woodpecker? Has the Little Miami flooded you out after all this rain?