a new bridge

7.8.22 ~ Avery Farm Nature Preserve
daisy fleabane (?-it was a very tall plant)

Back in May a group of seven volunteers from the Groton Open Space Association replaced a dilapidated bridge over Haley Brook in this nature preserve. The new bridge is longer, wider and has more secure handrails. So on this pleasant day we decided to use some mosquito repellent and take a rare walk into the summer woods to check out the new bridge.

To compare with an autumn view of the farm relic pictured above, see here: autumn afternoon.

the new bridge
a clump of ferns by the brook
view of Haley Brook from the new bridge
spotted wintergreen flower

I didn’t want to risk contact with poison ivy or ticks so I couldn’t get too close to the spotted wintergreen flowers, but I was very excited to spot them out of the corner of my eye. I’ve only seen these plants before on my winter walks and have never seen the flowers. Tim used his walking stick to hold some of the surrounding vegetation back so I could at least get this blurry picture.

All of us derive security and comfort from the imaginary world of memories and fantasies and plans. We really don’t want to stay with the nakedness of our present experience. It goes against the grain to stay present. These are the times when only gentleness and a sense of humor can give us the strength to settle down.
~ Pema Chödrön
(The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times)


There were lots of damselflies fluttering through the air. One finally landed on a leaf long enough to get some pictures. Unfortunately another leaf was obstructing the view of its body but I was happy to capture some of the detail on her wings. The white dots at the end of each wing identify her as a female.

female ebony jewelwing
aka black-winged damselfly
another mushroom
view of bridge from the other side, coming back
pine cone in tangle of branches and vines
someone planted a little garden in a stump

The bug repellent seems to have worked. I heard one mosquito around my ear but never got bit. Since I discovered a couple of things (wintergreen flowers and black-winged damselflies) I’d never seen before I wonder if it might be worth the trouble to take more summer walks in the woods…

And now the covid positivity rate in Connecticut is about 10%. Heading in the wrong direction…

20 thoughts on “a new bridge”

  1. Oh, I like that damselfly! I don’t think I’ve ever seen one before. And someone did a great job on that bridge, making it more inviting and safe-looking. Glad you found a way to repel the skeeters, too (I tend to be a magnet for them, so I have to douse really good before taking walks like this!!)

    1. Isn’t she pretty? It was an impressive sight, all those black damselflies flitting and zig-zagging across our path. I’m so happy one finally landed! I’m a skeeter magnet, too, and don’t like the feel of repellents so I tend to avoid the woods in the summer and take beach walks instead. But this was worth it!

    1. I had never seen this kind of damselfly before, either. But I did some research and was glad to see that you do have other kinds of damselflies in Norway, like the common blue damselfly. I hope you’ve had a chance to see some of them! 😊

  2. Post holiday covid surge… no surprise there. Gather and spread the virus!
    Sounds like a great walk for you. As long as the trails are wide enough, you can’t keep me out of the woods. I love being enveloped in a green forest!

    1. Of course, I didn’t make the holiday connection. (Three more relatives have tested positive, ruining summer camp plans for a teenager.) I did enjoy walking through the lush greenery — but it’s the feel of the necessary bug repellent that deters me…

  3. Many exquisite nature sightings that I have never seen, Barbara. I’m glad you put on the repellent to brave the mosquitoes for the new bridge walk.

    Those Red colored mushrooms surprised me! Other than whimsical, I’ve never seen a real one. I always thought the red were fantasy mushrooms. I’ve only seen nature mushrooms in brown shades. Are red mushrooms common in your area?

    Those spotted wintergreen flower look very petite and delicate.

    I’m excited that you were able to capture a female black-winged damselfly. We had just moved into our old cottage in May 2020 with lots of T-storms for weeks, then Hurricane Hanna arrived July 2020. There was so much rain that season. It also brought in the mosquitoes, dragonflies; and that’s when a saw my first large groups of damselflies!

    Now we have been in a drought since April and are on water restrictions. We are 7” behind our usual rainfall. And no rain in the forecast. Gulf waters are already heating up to 87 degrees. With the water heated up so early I’m anticipating a major hurricane this year. We will stay at the cottage again (as usual).

    1. I’m not sure but I think the mushroom is Russula emetica, a toxic one commonly known as the sickener, emetic russula, or vomiting russula. It has a wide distribution in the Northern Hemisphere. We saw two of them on our walk and I suppose we would see more of them if we walked in the summer woods more often.

      How exciting for you to see large groups of damselflies! I had never seen so many in the same vicinity before, and not ones with such distinctive black wings.

      Sorry to hear about your drought. We’re abnormally dry right now, but a little north of us is in a moderate drought. But it’s nothing compared to what much of the country is coping. I hope you don’t get a hurricane this year. It seems like the season has been eerily quiet so far. Time will tell… May you stay safe in your cottage!

  4. Yes, walks in the woods in summer are sooo worth it!. I’ve just returned from our stay in NC where we had 2 good long hikes. The rhododendron this year are blooming everywhere. I’ve rarely seen so many blooming at once. I wish I had your photo skills.

    1. Thank you, Anna! Seeing so many rhododendrons in bloom must have been amazing! My daughter just sent a batch of lovely pictures from a long hike in the woods of North Carolina with her family and some friends. I hope your trip and the memorial was healing for you and your family. 💙

  5. The bridge looks nice and sturdy…just how I like my bridges.
    I’m a magnet for mosquitos, so I’m with you on the spray and trying to avoid areas where they love to be. You managed to get some really lovely photos on your walk.

    1. Thank you, Suz! The first time I crossed the old dilapidated bridge was during the early days of the pandemic. I lost my balance a grabbed the shaky handrail and then fretted over the touching of a surface that might have had the covid virus on it. (The hand sanitizer was back in the car.) Memories…

  6. I went back to look at the farm relic – I remembered that beautiful Autumn day post as I scrolled through it. They made a nice job on the bridge. I am worried for ticks and mosquitos and this hot weather (and now a hot and stormy weekend) will mean more mosquitoes. I do a pants and sock check every trip out. Delicate flowers and I was fascinated with the first red mushroom with the frilly fringe on it … I only see the “Plain Jane” mushrooms here. Our Covid stats are going up as well and today I heard that inevitably we all will get this new variant – fingers crossed we don’t.

    1. Thanks for looking back, Linda. 🙂 Now I’m thinking I should go in the winter after a snowfall for another picture of the relic. I usually take a shower after a walk in the woods, checking for ticks in the process. I have to say I’ve never found one yet but the threat looms large in my mind after having three relatives stricken with Lyme disease in the past. But in the end it will probably be a mosquito that does me in! I’m not sure but I think that fringe on the red mushroom was the exposed gills because the cap was peeling back. I suspect both those mushrooms were the same kind, Russula emetica, a toxic one commonly known as the sickener, emetic russula, or vomiting russula.

      1. You’re welcome – Autumn is my favorite season Barbara, so it is always nice to see the sights from a beautiful Autumn walk. As our local docs deal with the uptick in Covid cases and reassuring people that Monkeypox is not going to cause an epidemic here in SE Michigan, the news media has not been reporting on the incidents of ticks and mosquitoes like they usually do. I hope that is a good thing. That red mushroom is unusual looking and it does make sense that is why the gills were exposed and looking a little frilly around the edges.

        1. Since the summer weather has been so nice here so far I haven’t started to yearn for autumn just yet, although it’s my favorite season, too. 🙂 So many diseases to avoid — let’s hope we get through the summer unscathed…

          1. We have rain this morning and 90% humidity, so I’m going to try and catch up in Reader until the storms roll in. We have thunderstorms and drenching rain on tap most of today and again on Wednesday. Good for the lawn and flowers anyway. I am getting my part two Shingles shot Tuesday as I still get allergy shots and try to space the shots far enough apart. Before we know it, it will be time for a flu shot and who knows when the next vaccine/booster for Covid will be available as they step up production with the latest variant. Will we be getting Monkeypox vaccines too? I heard on the news that appointments are being booked in NYC as soon as they are made available. Stay safe Barbara and Tim as you venture out on your walks – they are keeping us sane.

          2. Looks like we got your rain yesterday (Monday). I took an early, foggy walk at the beach and afterwards it started raining and lasted all day. It was a good soaking rain so hopefully the threatening drought will have been headed off. I worked on a puzzle for most of the afternoon. It was too humid to do much else, and my elbow kept sticking to puzzle pieces as I leaned over the table. I read that the updated covid vaccine will be ready in the fall. I’m not too worried about monkeypox because I don’t have such close contact with people. You’re right about walks keeping us sane! I need my endorphins!

  7. Wonderful sightings and captures, Barbara! Love the damselfly and the first frilly-edged mushroom is super cool. The new bridge looks mighty-fine and very safe, how awesome! The hot summer days still have hidden treasures to find if we can handle the heat and bugs, just as you’ve proven! Yay on the find of the wintergreen flowers!! 🤗😊🤗

    1. Thank you so much, Donna! It’s quite a jungle out there! I wanted a shower when I got home to wash off the bug repellent and any possible ticks… But all in all it was worth the trouble to see those treasures I don’t normally see. The damselflies were magical, there were so many of them! And so many things hidden in the lush greenery, like red mushrooms and wintergreen flowers. 🌞

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