I took a walk through the park “on my own,” as it were, unencumbered by monitoring duties but looking to make some field notes as homework for my current class. I was halfway there before I missed my point-and-shoot, so I had to make do with my tablet for images.
I haven’t been down the Cedar Trail for a couple of years or so, and I don’t spend much time this later in the season, so I found several puzzlers. The stretch of the trail that I used to think of as “Woodpecker Alley,” with lots of dead trees, is filling in with Sweetgum and lots of other green things.
I keyed out Rattlesnake Weed (Hieracium venosum), a yellow-flowered composite without noticeable disk flowers, petals pinked like a member of Caryophyllaceae, and minimal stem leaves like Goodyera.
I snapped some images of a mystery plant, already in fruit with 5 siliques, and with watermarked leaves like a waterleaf. Still working on that one.
The Snapping Turtles (Chelydra serpentina) were all over the place, at least eight in the main pond. And one, about 50 meters from anything wet at all, crossing the Cedar Trail, very interested in the cavity at the base of an uprooted tree.
I looped through the woods up to the tower, exchanged some information and pleasantries with a couple of guys from the Shenandoah Valley, and headed back to the car on the boardwalk. Right at the wetland’s edge, I came across this Thamnophis sp. snake, either an Eastern Ribbon Snake or Eastern Garter Snake. The image that I acquired doesn’t quite show the detail of the stripes needed to separate these two species, at least to my eye.