One section of the trail I mentally nicknamed Chickadee Woods for all the birds of that name we could hear and see around us, and further on there was a flock of American robins high in the bare trees. Though we usually think of robins as birds that go south for the winter, they will sometimes stay, often in large flocks, if food is available and snow cover not too heavy.
|Dead tree stripped of most of its bark|
This dead tree caught my eye, as it had lost its branches and most of its bark (above). When looking at the bare wood of the trunk, trails of insect larvae were visible (below).
|Closeup of same tree with signs of insect activity|
A cut section of fallen wood also captured our attention, as it was decorated with delicate layers of a pale fungus (below).
|Log with fungi|
|Closer view - fungi look like oyster shells|
|And even closer - how pretty and delicate|
I don't know much about fungi. These appear to be a type of bracket, or shelf, fungus, a description which refers to the growth pattern but doesn't by itself closely identify the species. Judging by the shape and the concentric half-rings of varying color, these look as if they might have some relation to the so-called Turkey Tail Mushroom (Trametes versicolor). Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than I am will weigh in with an opinion.
By now, of course, they are covered by the 4.5 inches of fluffy snow we received yesterday -- the first substantial snowfall of the season here in the Northfield area. Below are a couple of photos of improbably tall caps of snow adhering to purple coneflower seedheads in our front flowerbed this morning.