moss, raptors, skunk cabbage

1.18.23 ~ Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center

It’s hard to believe we haven’t been back to the nature center since June! For this nice walk we found lots of mosses to satisfy some craving for color. And we enjoyed seeing the latest patients in the outdoor rehab enclosures.

peregrine falcon
broad-winged hawks
the female is larger
broad-winged hawk
skunk cabbage emerging — too early?

Mosses are prolific under the moist shaded canopy of evergreens, often creating a dense carpet of green. But in deciduous forests, autumn makes the forest floor virtually uninhabitable by mosses, smothering them under a dark wet blanket of falling leaves. Mosses find a refuge from the drifting leaves on logs and stumps which rise above the forest floor like buttes above the plain. Mosses succeed by inhabiting places that trees cannot, hard, impermeable substrates such as rocks and cliff faces and bark of trees. But with elegant adaptation, mosses don’t suffer from this restriction, rather, they are the undisputed masters of their chosen environment.
~ Robin Wall Kimmerer
(Gathering Moss: A Natural & Cultural History of Mosses)

a rusted farm relic weathering by the pond

23 thoughts on “moss, raptors, skunk cabbage”

  1. I would so love to accompany you on one of these trips, Barbara. You have a knowledge of wildlife that I truly admire. An d learn a lot from, with this blog. How exciting to get so close to wild birds! And we are both VERY curious – in a good way I’d say :9

    1. It would be so much fun to have you along on our walks, Leelah! I wish I could go take a walk with you in Norway, too, as you have different flora, fauna and geology and I would love to learn about it all. Curiosity is a wonderful gift to be blessed with. ❤️

  2. Thank you for your winter wanderings. So different from my walks in central Florida. Many of my favorite walks along the St. Johns River have been closed since the hurricanes washed out boardwalks and bridges, but, happily, are now opening up again.

    1. You’re welcome, Anna. I love that phrase, winter wanderings — I think I will borrow it as a title for my next walk. I’ve never heard of St. Johns River so I looked it up. How interesting that it flows north! I’m glad to know repairs to the boardwalks and bridges are coming along and that your walking spots are coming back.

    1. I love how neighborly mosses and lichens are. And knowing that reindeer “moss” is actually a lichen. They all make winter walks more delightful.

    1. They are definitely majestic-looking. It’s too bad they can’t survive in the wild but at least they’re getting good care here. I’m always looking for mosses, lichen and wintergreen in the gray months…

    1. Thank you, Donna! 😊 I like that farm relic, too, although we couldn’t figure out what it might possibly be.
      I was wondering, if I see a bird in captivity can it be added to a life bird list? Somehow it doesn’t feel legitimate to me, not having spotted them in the wild, but I’m not sure.

  3. Amazing how our respective posts came out with raptors in cages isn’t it? I’d not seen photos of Broad-winged Hawks before and I am always amazed how much bigger the females are than the males. We used to have Peregrine Falcons around the neighborhood – they went after smaller birds and ate mice, voles and pigeons (ugh). I like your touches of color in the middle of Winter and the rusted relic.

    1. Thank you, Linda. It is interesting how the raptors in cages posts came at the same time, except yours were taken in the summer and mine in the dead of winter. The size difference between most male and female raptors is quite striking, isn’t it? I have never seen a peregrine falcon in the wild around here, they don’t seem to be all that common in this neck of the woods. We’ve got lots of bald eagles, though, they’re making a big comeback.

      1. Yes, a coincidence for us Barbara, like when we both had geese on a nest and gosling season. (For once, my posts were nearly in “real time”.) It does amaze me how much bigger the female raptors are. I follow a wildlife photographer in British Columbia. Wayne has lived in B.C. for almost 40 years now and has known some of his eagle friends that long. He has named all his eagles and they come over to see him when he is in his boat. When a pair perches together, it is just incredible the disparity in their sizes.

        1. That’s amazing to have known an eagle family for 40 years! He must spend a lot of time observing them to be able to tell them apart and for them to be willing to approach him. It takes a lot of patience and passion to be a good observing naturalist, like Jane Goodall.

          1. Yes, multiple eagle families, in different territories, so that is exciting Barbara. And Wayne has had instances since I started following him in January 2018 where a male eagle’s mate has died and the new mate does not care for him, so they don’t perch together when Wayne is around. They will fly down to see him and hover around his boat. Yes, lots of patience like Jane Goodall as animals sometimes have “off days” just like humans and don’t interact with you the same daily.

          2. It brings back memories of the days when my gull, the Captain, would fly down to the railing posts or the rocks at the beach to visit me. It’s a wondrous thing when a bird makes a connection with you, like Wayne has with his eagles.

          3. I kept hoping the Captain would return for you Barbara and I would say this is year three of following you and h did not return in 2021 or 2022. It is a wondrous thing – it is all about trust and that is the wonder of that connection. Wayne not only connects with his eagle friends, but two ravens (Robbie and Roberta) and a few crows as well. He lives in a small town, so gets around on his bicycle and they follow him around when he is on the bike. He has posted videos about these birds – it’s pretty incredible to see, but crows are very smart.

          4. The last time I saw the Captain was in July 2021. The first time I saw him was in August 2011. I cherish the memory of that decade-long friendship. Wayne sounds like a bird whisperer extraordinaire!

          5. I didn’t realize you had such a long-lasting friendship with the Captain Barbara. That’s a long time. Yes, he is and he loves the interaction, just like and the Captain and me with Parker. Longstanding friends. Wayne goes out in the boat and his eagle friends come to visit; on the bike, the Raven couple come calling. 🙂

  4. Thanks for taking us to this beautiful place, Barbara. It’s wonderful that they are providing rehab for the injured raptors. I always find raptor rehab a pleasant way to get close to them and as well as to sharpen my ID skills. And the moss celebration, with the bright colors, various textures, and lovely quote were a joy too.

    1. You’re welcome, Jet. Sometimes we’re lucky to find ourselves visiting when the staff is feeding the raptors, it’s fascinating to watch them eat a whole mouse, one gulp including fur, feathers, bones, and teeth. Once we took a workshop and dissected owl pellets and found a tiny skull in our sample. We’re so lucky to have this nature center so close by.

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