I am heading up Fountain Street to the Road entrance to check out the morning Fungi. Last night Rick and I took a late mini hike and spotted a lovely squirrel Mom eating the colorful Fungi in the grass. She seemed to be fond of the ones with red tops, even carrying a big piece up a Tree. When I arrive this morning I am happy to see many new fungi bursting forth. It’s exciting to see the new crop as they are enjoyed by the Squirrels and Chipmunks.
I decide to hike up the top of North Mountain to the North side of the Upper Dogwood Trail in hopes of seeing a Box Turtle or Snake. As I travel up the Floral Trail I spot two baby Snakes racing in and out of the leaves on the side of the trail. They are very fast!
I connect with the Lower Dogwood Trail then hike up to the top of the Upper Dogwood Trail. The Trail is filled with bird song and in the Twilight I spot a sweet little Nuthatch hoping up as down a Tree. I continue my hike listening and hoping to spot a Box Turtle. I notice a large branch has recently fallen leaving a hole in the canopy above. At the Trail head I decided to hike up to the overlook and then down the Loop Road to the Hot Springs Mountain Trail.
When I reach the trail I can see movement up ahead. As I pick up my pace I realize it is a Box Turtle, not where I expected to see one. It is a wonderful male Box Turtle with gorgeous head and leg markings. I watch as he makes his way into the the Forest ground cover. Further along the Trail I see a blue green insect crawling along the path. On closer inspection I see it is an amazing metallic greenish blue beetle, it is dazzling in the sunlight.
I take the Honeysuckle Trail to the Floral Trail and begin my hike off Hot Springs Mountain. As I near the end of the Trail a beautiful black Butterfly lands on a leaf to my side. It does not settle long and it is flitting from leaf to leaf. It’s a lovely sight as the sun hits the blue and orange on it’s wings.
The park has been a place of peaceful beauty and I feel an inner calm as I head home on Fountain Street. Approaching the Arlington Lawn at the main entrance to the park I hear fluttering and chirping. As I near the lawn a lesson is unfolding before my eyes. A male Cardinal is feeding his babies while the female stands watching. The two babies are following their Dad across the lawn, he is showing them how to get seeds from the lawn. The two babies seem unready to feed themselves and are constantly squawking to be fed. Dad is very patient, it is a wonderful way to end my morning.
Nature reveals many surprises.
Love to You ALL!