Three days of warm weather to be followed by hard freeze temperatures … I didn’t stay home. Buffy and I went for a lazy hike at my rural property.
Obviously, the creek hadn’t seen any rain for a long time.
This was the start of a rocky area on the west side of the ravine. The south end (in above picture) is on Forest Service. The short bluff/rocky area continues north to the bluff on my property.
Mud daubers commonly build their nests in back under areas that are mostly out of the rain.
Eastern phoebes (a flycatcher) build their nests from mud, mosses and other fine plant material.
They return in late winter and build their nests on ledges protected from the weather. Under bridges is commonly used too.
What a nice cozy place for a squirrel to dine on acorns.
The view to the southeast sure has changed.
We continued on to the north. The short bluff on my property is just on the other side of the overhang at the far end in the picture.
An ebony spleenwort fern looked all tucked in the crevice.
This “cave” is behind the overhang.
A pair of turkey vultures successfully nested in there several years ago. The nesting was successsful, so I don’t understand why the cave’s not been used again.
Obviously, this downed oak tree is a popular place to dine. I would dine here too if I was a gray squirrel. Dining in the woods, listening to the creek gurgle by and sunlight warming the day.
These acorns look to fresh to have been buried in the ground. Gray squirrels also cache acorns and other nuts in tree cavities. They eat nuts in the winter and eat buds, seeds, flowers and mushrooms the rest of the year. They also take mushrooms and put them among twigs or in crotches of a tree to dry. The mushrooms are either eaten dry or added to their cache. Squirrels will also gnaw on bones for the calcium.
Gray squirrels build their nests from leaves and sticks, and they also nest in tree cavities. They have 2 broods a year.
Lightning downed this tree many years ago. Mosses, lichens and shelf mushrooms now cover most of the bark. A 4-foot strip of bark is missing on the top of the log, with acorns scattered along most of it. An inch-and-a-half hole disappearing into a more rotten part of the wood probably belongs to a mouse.
This downed tree is in the ravine on my property, and Buffy and I pass it often on our hikes. It will be interesting to watch activities around the log and its decaying process too.