Thursday, August 7, 2014

One August day In the Forest

     Took a walk in the woods today with my partner, Snape, who is getting used to being the sole dog on the property after we put down Old Nelson.  We walked down the road and onto the Iditarod Trail that runs along the south shore of the lake.  Not far down the trail we cut into the woods to follow a game trail with fresh moose tracks.  This was a trail stomped out by some fellows cutting firewood last year and the moose seem to take advantage of any such trace made through the devils club and deadfalls.   This is a mature forest of almost entirely spruce trees though there are a few mall hemlock as well with an understory of fern, blueberry, huckleberry, currants, and devils club with a few alders thrown in.  Anywhere the alders are thick is place that's been opened down to soil like an old road or trail.  Beneath all this green is a complex carpet of mosses and belly flowers.
     Snape and I found one spruce grouse, a young one, nearly eating size and a couple of good blueberry bushes, where I picked a couple handfuls for a snack.   It impossible for me to tell if the blueberries had were sparse or had already been gathered by bears or pickers.   Either way any berries out of these section of the forest would be well earned. Snape seemed a little nervous in the woods and seemed eager to get back to the main trail.  He doesn't range far into the woods unless there is a rich scent to something like the spruce grouse which he didn't notice until it was well up a tree and then he was ready to get after it.   Nelson always loved bushwhacking, and he let his nose lead him on great explorations well away from me, often leaving me frustrated while I waited for his return.   

     The loons returned yesterday and it reminded me to return to my writing here.    Solstice was quite a while ago.  We hadn't seen the loons for sometime and I wonder of they were at the other end of the lake, on their nest again or travel to visit neighbors, which loons are known to do.  I have watched visiting loons arrive here and at the Pear Lake to visit the resident pair.  The visits usually involve a lot of vocalizing, water dancing and short, circling flights around the host lake.  What I call water dance is a drama performance by one or two loons that rise up and run across the surface of the water flapping their wings and calling for thirty to fifty yards.  This is often repeated by other birds.  Noisy and dramatic,  this display of energy and force is a moving event to watch.   The lake is always dramatic, sometimes with the wildlife busy on, in and around it; sometimes with the weather lashing the water and the trees and sometimes with the placid silence of solitude.

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