Once again the Other Half and I decided to explore another lake nearby. Unfortunately, this one charges an entrance fee, which sucks, but it has several thousands of acres to explore (read: it takes this much room/running to wear the dog out), so it’s worth the cost.
The Other Half hadn’t been to this particular lake, though I have vague memories of rowing and running there at 5:30 in the morning from my undergrad. The morning we chose for our adventure just happened to be the day after it rained, so it was mildly cool, cloudy, and mostly wet. But, it was totally covered with fun things like birds. Also ticks. Which aren’t as much fun if they’re on you, but which you’ll totally see pictures and nerdy information about next week.
We decided to walk along the shore for a few minutes because our collie thinks he’s a water dog and likes to go swimming to look for turtles. We didn’t see any turtles, but we did catch this little red-bellied woodpecker helping build a nest:
Well, okay, it thought it was a bluebird and was taking over an existing cavity, but who’s counting?
We also saw a lot of these:
Yes, the inevitable goose. They weren’t too keen on my coming too close, though, so I must not be the only one chasing them in our town. Anyway, the really fun things appeared when we decided to take a turn onto the horse path (We were successfully hopeful in not seeing anyone riding in the muck that day. Come to think of it, there wasn’t anyone else at all…).
The little Myrtle warbler above was actually an accidental picture. I was actually trying to take a picture of this guy:
He’s a bit hard to see if you haven’t been practicing your I-Spy, but this warbler was conveniently sitting in a pine tree, which made for easy identification as a pine warbler! Ok, well, fine, we recorded him singing and then followed him around until we got a picture of him in a pine tree for kicks and giggles. And yes, it was totally just so I could make that joke.
Not amused? Well, that was the big one-liner of the day, so you’ll just have to be stuck with the other really cool thing we saw: a pair of pileated woodpeckers that were having a ball chasing each other.
The one climbing down the pole actually came down to poke the other one before diving off, leaving the other with a rather affronted look before it followed suit.
Apparently it was Fly Right Above Us and Try to Poop On Us Day, because we kept getting birds landing in the branches right above us, like this little downy that decided we weren’t as important as breakfast.
We did see something (well, several somethings) up the road that didn’t decide breakfast was more important, though.
This little group of deer let us get right up on them before they noticed we didn’t have food. What you don’t see is the other 3 having a grand ball by running around the field, led by one little doe that was flame red.
And for the squeamish, the post ends here; for the rest of you, we found a deer maxilla (the upper half of the jaw).
These are the upper molars and premolars of a deer. Like cattle, deer don’t have upper incisors (i.e. your front teeth); they instead have a dental pad that ‘s made of rough skin inside their mouths.
How awesome is that? We’re actually thinking of getting an annual pass to this area since it’s a bit more remote and lets us take longer hikes with Eli. Oh, and there is all the cool stuff we found, which is a great reason to keep going!