Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Casual Observations While Getting My 10,000 In, Winter Walk-off 2016

Skyler and Newton
Every year about this time, my friend Les hosts a Winter Walk-off. To participate in the Walk-off you need only your two feet and camera. The rules are simple- don't photograph your garden/yard and travel by foot. 
I have participated every year, last year I won the drawing! I will bow out of the drawing for this year, but still wanted to play along. Each year I have had my four legged friends accompanying me. Sadly we lost our sweet Newtie this year, so I only have one dog, Skyler. Charlie and I have been walking since the end of November, more religiously since the end of December. 

Charlie 

Our neighborhood is five miles from end to end and so far there are less than 50 houses built. Much of what we see along the way are blackberry brambles and grasses. We also have a rollercoaster-esk road. The elevations range from 440 feet above sea level at the lake to 550 feet or more. Some hills are harder to climb than others! 

My initial goal was 10,000 steps and I have increased it to 11,000 recently. We got Fitbits for Christmas and have become obsessed with how many more steps we need.  The only thing I needed to do for the Walk-off was to remember my camera! We only take Skyler on part of the walk, he does about 2 miles. 

So, on with the walk.... 




Ours is a Hickory-Oak forest, bordered by a Pine forest that is harvested by the paper companies. From the road to the lake is more Hickory-Oak, sprinkled with pines. Native trees such as Beech, Fagus grandifolia, show off their Marcescent leaves deep into the forest. (Leaves that remain through the winter) It wasn't until the first winter here that I knew for certain how many beech were in our woods. 



Another tree that stands out in the winter landscape is Sycamore, Platanus occidentalis.  With its white mottled bark, this tree shines in the forest. This one still has its seedpods, looking like upside down lollipops. 

We first saw this hornet's nest in November. A couple days ago I noticed a Hummingbird's nest on the next tree. Sadly, didn't have my camera with me on that walk. 




Our quiet neighborhood is growing, this is the most recent lot to have building started. Here is the utilities guy marking the electric and phone lines.




If you keep your eyes open while you are walking you will see all sorts of interesting items. Not sure whose nest this might have been last year. It is nestled in the blackberry brambles, food at their front door?


I noticed that the color on the Eastern Red Cedars, Juniperus virginiana was changing, the flowers are getting ready to explode with their pollen going all over.  The dark green foliage is overtaken by the golden male blooms. 


Speaking of keeping your eyes open--- I saw this item after walking this direction for almost a month. Do you see it in the photo below? Look closely--- near the © symbol.


How about now? A mysterious round hole. No idea who lives in this hole, if anything. The hole is very round, about  6- 8 inches in diameter. I would love to move my trail camera to this location to see if I could capture on film something coming in or going out of this hole. Sadly there doesn't seem to be a good place to anchor the camera, (yes I know, I could take a post to mount the camera) but remember those brambles I keep mentioning? There is a thick stand of them between the road and the hole. Any guesses?


Not too far from the hole is a nice stand of deciduous holly. I would guess it to be Possumhaw,  Ilex decidua,  but I don't know for sure. Love the bold red berries! 



Before you leave, give a listen to our noisy neighborhood. You can tell spring is in the air!



Skyler is glad the walk is over, he is ready for a drink of water and a rest.



Be sure to check out the other Winter Walk-off posts. Visit A Tidewater Gardener.


 ©Copyright 2016 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

30 comments:

  1. Thank you for joining in yet again. I appreciate it. I love the sound clip, are they spring peepers? I have yet to hear any frog activity, here or at work. However we did see a red form screech owl yesterday at work. It is living in the hollow of a sweet gum, right next to an area were masons are building a brick wall. It didn't seem bothered by the noise or the crowds. When is Skyler getting a playmate?

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    1. Hi Les -I can't imagine spring without a Walk-off post. Thanks again for hosting it. We have so many frogs in the woods, hard to tell what it might be.
      Skyler is getting a playmate in October....stay tuned!

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  2. Very interesting!
    Have a great day!
    Lea

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  3. Hi Janet! Great walk. My kitty Hercules wants to thank you for his audio-visual presentation this a.m. Stopped him in his tracks as he scooted across my desk to the office window. Hasn't this winter been the best? So glad you've been able to get out and do some serious walking. Barbarapc

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    1. Hi Barbara, glad your kitty enjoyed the audio portion of the post. Sorry we didn't see you at the Minneapolis fling...next year?

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  4. Loved joining you on your walk your majesty (lol). I especially liked your video of the spring sounds. Sounds like that here also. I follow Les' blog and always enjoy the Winter Walk Off segment. Vikki in VA

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    1. So glad you visited Vikki! Come back again, and maybe you can join us for the Spring Fling- 2017 is in the VA/DC/MD area.

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  5. Would love to know who's home that hole belongs to. Nice job. Nadine

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    1. Thanks Nadine! We are thinking maybe a Cotton Rat.

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  6. if i saw that hole around here (NE ohio) now, i'd guess a groundhog - sometimes they'll have loose dirt around them, but there will be more than one hole around a den, and most of the ones i've seen look like your photo. it also looks somewhat like a "blowout" hole from a yellowjacket nest or ground bees, or whatever you call them where you live, but we don't see those (fresh ones, anyway) until the beginning of august. am hoping to hear the spring peepers in our area tonight or tomorrow - it's very warm here, and a day's worth of on-and-off rain is supposed to start late tonight. i loved the photos from your walk; would love to see more from your walking journeys. --suz in ohio

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    1. Hi Suz- we have some groundhogs around here, but think the hole is too small. We have seen Cotton Rats nearby, so maybe.....
      Come back and visit the blog often, I show lots of wildlife and wooded surroundings.

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  7. You have a lovely neighborhood! I love the sycamore trees. We have lots of them on our property and the bark is fab. I prefer it to the crape myrtle's bark. So, now I know your secret to getting all your steps in...haha! I have to walk our neighborhood several times to get 5 miles in and half the time I forget to wear my Fitbit.

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    1. Hi Karin, I love the Sycamore bark after a rain when everything else is so dark, it just pops. Keep walking!

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  8. You do have a noisy neighborhood, but it's the right kind of noise!

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    1. Thanks Jason - yes it is quite noisy! You should hear it in the summer....yikes.

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  9. Enjoyed going on your walk with you, Janet; you live in such a beautiful area. So sorry to hear about Newton; it's always sad to say goodbye to our faithful furry friends. I'm so impressed with your walking regimen. I started back in February, but don't walk nearly as far as you, and a rainy or a cold day easily persuades me to stay indoors instead:)

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    1. Rose, thanks for joining me on the walk. We sure do miss Newton...hoping to get a puppy from a litter to be born the end of August. Just having one dog is kind of lonely for the one left.

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  10. Janet I love seeing your surrounds especially those woods...so much beautiful nature there!

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    1. Thanks Donna, we do have a lovely spot here on the Earth.

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  11. I always enjoy a walk around your neighborhood. Sorry to hear you no longer have Newton to accompany you.

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    1. Thanks so much Janet, always sad to lose such a loving pup.

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  12. If I were a bird I'd live in that nesting spot, too. It would be like having dinner delivered every night.

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  13. I am surprised that the birds have not eaten the holy berries yet. The ystart to soften up at this time of year.
    Ray

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    1. Ray- thanks for stopping by. Yes, I was surprised that the berries were still on the stem.

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  14. I hate to have missed the winter walk off this year. I had good intentions, but I guess we know how far intentions get us! Nice photo of red cedar. I've been enjoying watching those through the winter into spring. I can't resist squeezing the berries when I see them. They smell so good! I love your video! Have you found out who the hole belongs to yet?

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    1. Hi Daricia, I know, time flies! We think the hole might be a Cotton Rat. We have them around and have seen one on the road near the area.

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  15. Love the information about the trees. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks for visiting Richard. There is a lot of tree information on my tree post tab. Check it out.

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