Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Walk at Fort Totten

Sunday morning early we got up and drank our coffee and donned our warm clothes to go for a nature walk in local National Park Fort Totten a Washington DC, Civil War era ring dirt fortress that is now mostly forest. We had planned to meet a tour that a local geologist and botanist were leading but I got the meeting place wrong in my head somehow thinking we were suppose to meet at the Metro station... We never did find them but we couldn't help enjoying the woods on our own while looking around on trails we hadn't explored hoping to run into them. We both took our cameras and just hiked the length of the park and down over the hill towards the rail road tracks. Exploring and enjoying the trees and sunshine.

 When we walked up the hill from the metro station to the edge of Ft. Totten road and the beginning of the long strip of woods that makes up the park we found a first trail into the woods edged with white flowers I believe are snake root. They are showy and are available in nursery for home gardens. The wind was blowing the around so this close up shot is blurry because they were waving in the breeze as my camera shutter snapped.
Once we got into the woods we saw these tall single stalked goldenrods blooming in the dry sandy soil along the edges of the trail. It was mostly distributed near where the forest edge opened to the fields of the park grounds. 

One of them had a big bumble bee sitting on having a nectar meal and maybe collecting some of that nice yellow pollen. Also in these trail pictures notice those stones that cover the way. They are gray and white river stones deposited eons ago on top of this high hill in NE Washington DC. 

High overhead we heard and saw the red napped woodpecker calling and drilling for food in the dead tree branches. I used the zoom to capture a record of our sighting at the fort park. A matching woodpecker was on the tree next to my window at home one morning recently and here is a closer look. Same bird right?

 We made our way to a new area we hadn't explored down the hill as it turns out not the best area to walk since we are allergic to the native poison ivy and we saw a lot of it mixed in the edges of the trail plants with invasive English ivy. The trees in the park are huge and very tall so much that it hurt my neck to look up at them hunting for leaves to identify them. There were areas where the forest floor was covered with little seedlings of oak seedlings.

This shot is looking back up the hill we descended on our walk from the top to the bottom across behind the transfer station.

This is the large leaf magnolia we later learned is an American tree that has moved north in recent years finding homes in new forests delivered by bird carrying seeds to the new warmer climate here. 

At the bottom of the hill were a lot of toppled trees long gone towards bare wood and ready for decaying to take them back to the earth. A squirrel was scampering over them as we walked by and posed for a portrait briefly. 

Finally on top of the hill again we notice this interesting lichen growing on the leaf littered floor it was a brightly colored series of browns and yellow gold surrounded by new growth that looks like Japanese "invasive" honey suckle vine and blue and huckle berry.

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