Jul. 23, 2015 – The beaver pond is hidden behind a thick wall of foliage that reveals itself sparingly to hikers along the trail.

 

Pond lilies are much less numerous now.  What insects, snails and larger animals have not eaten has decayed, forming a floating scum or falling to the bottom of the pond. So much decaying matter may account for the water’s change of color to a murky brown.

 

Insects reign supreme at the pond. Dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies bring a rainbow of colors to green shores. Mosquitoes and ticks menace warm-blooded animals with enthusiasm.

A male (drake) Wood Duck swims by in his summer plumage, also called “eclipse” plumage.  He looks very similar to the female at this time of year except for a white chin strap and a dark line through the eye instead of an eye ring.

 

A Wood Duck hen leads a recently-hatched brood about the pond.  Two adult ducks fly into the air on my approach despite my efforts to keep a low profile.

 

On the upper pond, a Green Heron waits patiently  on a log for dinner to introduce itself.  A tiny tree sprouting from the log resembles a red flower.

 

As usual, turtles are warming themselves on waterside perches around the pond. Sneaking up on them is even harder than sneaking up on a Wood Duck.

 

Clusters of green paw paw fruit, the largest native fruit in North America, are close to reaching maturity.

 

In sunny upland areas of the park, fields are awash in Queen Anne’s Lace. Seed cups, looking like woven baskets, have a loveliness all their own.

Daisies, Black-eyed Susans, Goldenrod and other flowers compete in sunny locations for the attentions of pollen-gathering insects.

At the edge of a field, brambles that once annoyed hikers now tempt all manner of hungry wayfarers with luscious, ripe blackberries.

 

 

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