Today was the monthly hike for our North Country Trail Chapter. We hiked a very geologically interesting section from High Bridge to Leitch Bayou. If you want to see more about that, check out Interesting Geology Above the Little Manistee. But I have some critter features to show you.
We passed two active porcupine trees. Remember, in the story about The Wagon Road, that I said the opening under the tree could not be a porcupine? Now you can clearly see why I knew that! Yes, that's all poop. Each pellet is about the size of a long pill capsule. We didn't see a porky, but while we were standing around this tree, some new pellets fell down onto the pile!
This isn't a great picture, but I'm excited about it. It's the first time I've ever gotten a picture of a pileated woodpecker. They are huge, over a foot high, but they are very shy. You might say that I cheated, since this was taken through the window of a house (and a screen, which is why it's hazy), but I don't really care today, I'm just glad it came to pound on their tree when I had my camera. I've been saving an interesting post about this woodpecker, so maybe we'll do that tomorrow!
Finally, this is really cool! This is a fairly newly hatched praying mantis. It is about 1/2 inch long (not counting the antennae). Maggie brought this in from the woods on her nose! The color is a little weird in the picture. It was really a clear spring green, not that overcooked asparagus color. I put it on a piece of styrofoam to try to get enough contrast to show it off. I realized what it was because once, long ago, I happened to be in the right place at the right time to see a whole nest of baby praying mantises come boiling out of a crack in some wood. As they grow, they shed their skins, because insects have an exoskeleton.
|See Monsters and Fairies for an adult praying mantis|