The mayflies (or gnats) are here, which means no more walking in the woods without being swarmed. In another couple of weeks the mosquitos and deer flies will be in full force. So, to avoid the swarm, we went for an early morning walk yesterday. 6:30 a.m., 28 degrees (note the ice crystals on the wild strawberry and cattail below).
We had barely entered the woods before we inadvertently frightened a bunny and a deer sipping from a small pond. A little further into the walk we saw a pileated woodpecker. The pileated woodpecker is large, roughly the size of a crow and the largest type of woodpecker in the U.S., and has a bright, flaming red crest on its head. It makes quite the ruckus in the early morning woods as it loudly excavates deep into rotting trees for insects. So, again, another banner wildlife viewing day in the woods.