Sunday, July 19, 2015

Upstate Escape

     Friday was looked forward to with great anticipation for some time away from the city life. Tim and I got home, did some last minute care for the critters in our home, and packed up the car. After hoping in, and some Holland Tunnel fails, 2 hours later, we escaped NYC and headed upstate just outside of the Adirondacks. Our good friend invited us up to enjoy his parents' lake house for the weekend.
     We took the camera with us, but honestly, I wasn't toting that thing around. Good times were had, many beers were enjoyed, and all done surround by good people we are lucky enough to call our friends!
     I of course though HAD to go trod through the woods just to take a little peek at what's around. iPhone 6 has some pretty decent photo taking and editing capabilities...
After a 6 hour drive, at 11:30PM, we pulled up in the rain. Moments after stepping out of our car, I caught an American toad. A good start to a good weekend!

A lovely, back-lit orb weaver.
The woods surrounding the home were very wet, with lots of fungi. The indian pipe is a plant that lacks chlorophyll-- and is therefore not green. It is instead parasitic, getting nutrients from fungi and trees that are symbiotic with one another. I love finding this plant, it's just so alien!
A millipede. I was searching under things in hopes of finding some amphibians...
Another very cool millipede, it had very yellow legs and marking on its segments.
When I originally found it I was a little put off by the yellow, as I recall some brightly colored centipedes from back in the day, and was very put off by those animals- they were fast and packed a venomous bite. I associated that memory with this sight. But then I looked closer, two pairs of legs per segment = millipede. Centipedes only have one pair of legs per segment, and are predatory. Millipedes are harmless, consuming dead decaying plant matter. 
Under a log I found this guy, pretty sure he is a lead back phase red-backed salamander.
These salamanders are lungless, respiration happens through their skin. That's why it is important these guy live in damp environments, like under a log, in a very damp forest edge near a lake.
I learned something new, this common beetle that you find EVERYWHERE is called the oriental beetle. It is an invasive brought over from Asia, often considered a pest by avid gardeners.
I very much want to say this is from a dragonfly nymph. It crawled out of the water and molted into its adult self. I found this on the side of a shed on a dock on the lake, and why I am inclined to say dragonfly. As their larval or nymph stage is aquatic.
An awesome shelf fungus!
An awesome slug on an awesome shelf fungus.
With my ID guides and web help, I think, think, think-- and am 99% sure this is a Clymene Moth. They are active in both sun and dark.
As a fire was being prepared in the pit, this guy was found by our friend. Pretty sure this is a younger American Toad who sought refuge in the old wet logs. Glad he was able to be relocated. I also love that my husband was asking to hold his and squee'd when this little guy vocalized. We let him go in the woods, where he'd be a bit better off.
THAT FACE! Love amphibians. I love catching them too, as a kid growing up in suburban Long Island, I was very much deprived of catching frogs, toads, and snakes. So I take any chance I can to do it as an adult... I always let them go back where I found them, or in this guys case, in a place where he will not become roasted.
A very good time all around, got my first tube down a river experience, shared lots of laughs, and ended our day with a fantastic bonfire under the most amazing sky full of stars and little satellites orbiting around our tiny little habitation in such a vast universe. You don't realize how big the universe is till you can actually see it streaked across the night sky. Pretty amazing and so glad to have such wonderful friends in my life to share it all with.