The route, which I described here, here, and here. This turned out to be one of the most productive Spring walks.
Just as I approached the bridge to the Fishing Area, a small bird was foraging in the bushes along the lake shore. It wasn’t particularly nervous at my approach and I managed to get a photo before it decided I was getting a little too close. I think it’s a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea). It looks olive-green in the shade of the bush but it was clearly blue-gray when it was in the open
Another surprise. It’s very unusual to see turtles in the inlet by the bridge. It didn’t stay long when it saw me. I think it’s a Yellow-bellied Slider (Trachemys scripta scripta).
Yet another surprise. This Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus) was warming itself in the sun and stayed still for a long time. I’ve never seen one of these before so this was a real treat.
The Woolsower Galls that were so striking on previous walks had lost the pink color and were now brown and white. It was going to be harder to spot them on the trail now.
I wanted to follow the blooming of the Wild Yam (Discorea villosa). The plants are just starting to set flower buds. This Harvestman spider had spun its web and had made itself at home on this one.
Another rare fully opened flower on one of the many Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus) bushes in the Rock Garden.
The new leaves of the wild ginger, Little Brown Jug (Hexastylis arifolia) have developed and ‘pushed’ the leaf litter away from the center of the plant. The flowers are now visible.
Instead of following the trail back to the main trail, I followed the fisherman trail further along the shore and found…
I found another one of the Woolsower Galls that I’d seen the previous week. The previously pink spots on this gall had also turned brown.
Nearby, I found an interesting gall on a Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata). I haven’t been able to identify this gall yet.
When I passed by the Pink Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium acaule) plants, they were in the sun. I’d never seen the sun on them before.
The Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum biflorum) plants just south of the first bridge were still blooming. From there…
I made my way back to the parking lot after one of the most rewarding walks I’ve made along this trail.