So I took Sunday off from garden work to canoe across the marsh and take a walk on the woods in the west side of my land. It had been almost a month since my last visit and I wanted to see how things had changed during that time. The forest floor where the white pines, quaking aspen, and white spruce grow is now green with a thick carpet of stalked sedges, mountain rice grass, false melic, woodland anemones, Mayflowers, bunchberry, gold-thread, twinflower, princess pine, yellow vetchling, dewberry, twisted stalk, starflower, big-leaf aster, ferns and violets. Scattered here and there among all this green are pale yellow stalks of the yellow coralroot orchid (Corallorhiza trifida) an achlorophyllous plant that obtains its nutrients as a parasite on the mycorrhizal fungi of tree roots.
There were some strange mushrooms such as Gyromitra korfii (false morel) growing on rotted spruce stumps and logs. I even found a real morel (Morchella angusticeps) under some black ash trees at the wetland/upland interface. I was hoping to find the devil’s urn (Urnula craterium) fungus among the ash but no such luck this time. Also along the interface were large patches of wild ginger (Asarum canadense) a herbaceous plant with kidney-shaped leaves and fragrant pungent rhizomes. Fresh rhizomes can be candied and dried rhizomes can be brewed into a spicy beverage. The thick fleshy flowers of wild ginger are unusual and look a bit like three-sided red bells with wiry tassels.
Over in the black ash swamp I investigated the many seeps that are there. Marsh marigold, a seep indicator species, is everywhere water seeps from the ground. Although it is not as abundant as I had expected it is still very common and I saw many small plants still too young to flower. Growing with the marsh marigold were other seep indicator species: marsh blue violet (Viola cucullata), golden saxifrage (Chrysospleniun americanum), swamp saxifrage (Saxifraga pensyvanica), golden ragwort (Senecio aureus), and bittercress (Cardamine pensylvanica).
There was plenty of wildlife, too. I saw fresh timber wolf scat and a veery and her clutch of blue eggs in a nest on the ground. Many birds were singing although I was only able to identify ovenbird, oriole, and white breasted nuthatch. I’m just not that good at recognizing bird calls (yet). And I saw a small black and white moth. I was hoping it was the scarce infant moth. I followed it for about 30 feet until it landed on a tree trunk and tried to get a photo. Its out of focus but was enough for me to identify it as the white striped black moth (Trichodezia albovittata). Their larval host plant is jewelweed (Impatiens capensis and other Impatiens species) of which there is plenty in the ash swamp.