(Shoutout to my friend Em for the sweet post title!)
I don’t think I officially announced here that I am moving back East next month! Given that my time up north is coming to a close, I realized now is not the time to skimp on photos nor stories. Today, we walked into a bog I’ve walked into before, but this year it’s a bit drier. Thus, it was honestly kind of perfect for walking barefoot. There’s no better barefoot habitat than a sphagnum bog! There was just enough cool, freshwater to delight my feet with every spongy step. I touched the cotton grass and marveled afresh at how this really is a magical place.
We saw lifer butterflies today, including a much sought after jutta arctic in that bog! Singing across the street was an olive-sided flycatcher presumably on breeding territory. We also saw one of the rarer checkerspots (Harris’) amazingly perched right next to the road in the first group of butterflies we looked at. It was perfect.
Lest we forget that life outdoors is plenty messy, though, we had a markedly different experience at Douglas Co. Wildlife Area. It was still pretty good; excellent weather and my first time reporting pink-edged sulphur. However, we made a regrettable choice to walk down an unmarked trail, without considering that the annual burning had likely not proceeded as usual this year. As I took in the scent of sweetfern and wondered aloud to my love if life got any better, he looked down and noticed a few wood ticks has hitched a ride. I kind of laughed, then looked down and noticed I had probably about 100 on me!😵We both worked quickly to pick them off (not before Paul laughed in disbelief and took a photo with my phone) as I seriously considered the option of just ditching my pants and running back to the car as quickly as my legs would take me. I had a naive hope that we had “caught them all” along the way in, but the way back was quick walking with stops every few minutes to pick off the next 10.😒Both of us being career wildlife biologists, we had honestly never seen anything like it.
We made it back with a few bites and continuing to find them in the car almost the whole way home! I think they’re all gone, but that will likely be the stuff of my nightmares for nights to come, and we’re still on the lookout for apartment intruders…