Sue explained that this particular area of the Lewis Creek watershed was planted heavily with apple trees by pioneers. The trees have long been neglected by humans, yet they still produce a hugely important food crop, especially for the black bears (Ursus americanus). We wandered slowly and happily through the forest of birch, cherry, ash, maple and serviceberry, punctuated by large swaths of apple trees. Glacial erratics (read: large rocks that are way fun to climb) rose randomly out of the ground, and the creek flowed audibly under unsteady ice.
Quite a different day temperature-wise...it quickly rose to around and then slightly above freezing!
Highlights of the day...remember, cover the captions if you want to guess.
|Love this one...red squirrel marking sign. You can see those upper incisor marks.|
|An apple partially eaten by a squirrel and cached visibly in this branch crotch for later.|
|Old scars on an apple tree--apparently it was a favorite. Notice all of the parallel diagonal scrapes all up the length.|
|Woodpecker? Red Squirrel marking?|
|Nope...BB shot! We carved at this one til the metal was visible.|
|So much of this everywhere, especially on the apple trees, but also on species like this white ash. This is probably a front claw...hinds often register deeper and more vertically.|
|A deer's tracks surrounded this...the plant is a fern. Deer unearth ferns in the winter to eat the carb-rich rhizomes.|