Happy dog and I were roaming through the woods today. It had rained last night again and the ground was muddy to the point of mush. I was looking for animal tracks and listening to bird songs and a woodpecker drumming when I happened to see this:
It was moving rather fast and I made my sneakers into a v-shape in order to interrupt it so I could get out the camera and snap this picture. There are clearer pictures on the internet of course. I held the camera a bit too close in my haste to get its' photo. At any rate, in this one, you can see the shiny body, the yellow stripes and the reddish sides. The legs undulated and there looked to be three groups of them. When gently prodded with a stick, to my surprise this particular millipede did not curl up. When allowing the millipede to go on its' way, it rapidly disappeared into the leaf litter.
Happy dog did not notice my adventures with Apheloria virginiensis. She continued on her merry way examining various scents along the woods path.
One of the grand things about living in this area is that there are bits of woods and fields all within walking distance. The town foolishly tried to sell off one section of the woods but was met with stubborn resistance by the regulars who use it. The folks who wanted to buy the woods realized very quickly that they were not welcome here and withdrew their offer. [Alternate scenario: Or perhaps the bank loan or mortgage thing fell through and they blamed the locals for not being friendly and welcoming]. At any rate, the invaders quickly beat feet and left.
Unlike in some other places, the paint-ballers, four-wheelers, and walkers all get along. The paint-ballers and the four-wheelers all help to maintain the woods by clearing away blowdown and cutting away the invasive grass. [Lawns are an ecological wasteland and should properly be banned-- but I digress]. We walkers snap away random branches that threaten to close off the paths. There is a small subset of teens who use the woods around here to kick back and relax. We all get along with them too. Most of us have had a few beers or a few joints in the woods in our own youths. These particular teens do not leave bottles or cans laying around. There is a garbage can on the way out.
Once back home, dog and I sat out in the backyard. The morning crew of birds drifted in. The immature male red-wing blackbird was back at the platform feeder. A few chickadees were out and about. Chickadees are rather clever. This morning I watched as one used a tree branch to help crack open a sunflower seed. I've watched them do that sort of thing before with tree branches and with the branches of bushes both. A house sparrow [actually English finches] couple were at the tube feeders. They did not fight with the house wrens this morning. I was glad of that.
sapphoq and friends