Thursday, December 8, 2016


So, today instead of heading up to Cascade Lake as I've been doing for a few weeks now, I decided to go to the Co. Park.  The gates are closed this time of year, so it's a uphill walk, which is exhausting for me at this point.  I felt a deep desire to head up there.  It brings me great peace to be in that forest.  I've been hiking there for nearly 3 decades now, it's part of who I am.  Two of my dogs ashes are spread there, as it was their favorite place on earth.  After I made it up the first hill and walked a couple hundred feet on the trail, I noticed a large bird fly from lower in the under story to a higher tree, where I could get a good look at the bird. To my great was a Goshawk!  YES!  A Juvenile bird, but clearly without a doubt a Gos!  Excited is an understatement to how I felt, they are not common around here.  A large powerful Accipiter.  I was able to watch it fly twice and could see it had prey in it's talon.  I'm glad the bird is healthy and getting food, hard for young raptors to make it though their first Winter.  

Monty and I walked on, my heart already full from the Gos,  a glorious day, so crisp and cool, but sunny.  I checked on the Vernal Pool I monitor, it finally has water in it again.  I'm so excited, as it may have filled in time for the Marbled Salamander Eggs to hatch! The females stay in the dry Vernal Pools under leaves and logs protecting their eggs, awaiting rains to fill the pool, so they can leave the eggs to hatch.  The females then return to their lives underground.  I now have a good reason to get up there once a week to see if there are any Marbled Salamander Larvae.  The larvae hatch in the Fall, and spend the Winter under the ice feeding and growing.  When Spring comes they are quite large and getting ready to metamorphosis into salamanders and begin their lives on land.  They live a long time, some upwards to twenty years old.  I love watching the cycles of a Vernal pool. Even in Winter there is always something to see.  

I sat by a stream that is now running again, one that I've sat by hundreds of times.  I listened to the water flowing.  I let it take all the stress out of my body and mind.  I felt like a thousand pound weight had been lifted from my shoulders.  I am having a hard time mediating with man made recordings, it's amazing how nature gets into my soul so deeply.  I need to go to that spot more often.  Monty was a doll too.  He just hung out and looked around, he knows what his mom needs right now. 

I'm taking in another rehab baby snapping turtle tomorrow, he was found frozen in the woods, far from any water. Female Snapping Turtles often lay their eggs great distances from the lakes and ponds they live in. The young have a sort of antifreeze in them, that helps them to survive early frosts, or if they Winter over in the nest.  I expect this poor little guy had hatched out of his egg,  and during the rain last week and some warmer weather decided to dig out of the nest and try and get to water. With the weather this week he was doomed.   The person who found him was shocked that after he warmed up, he was alive!  I'm looking forward to rehabbing him.  

My handsome boy
Vernal Pool

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