On a recent hike in the woods, we came across this nest on the ground next to the trail. Many years ago, I would have picked it up and taken it home to tuck into my Christmas tree. Now, though, I am a faithful practitioner of “Leave no Trace,” so we moved it a bit further off the trail and left it there.
This was a particularly stunning nest, which appears to have been constructed from just two materials: lichens, and on the inside, pine needles. It was so light, I barely felt it on my hand. I looked it up in my nest book and also online, and I think it was made by a flycatcher. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to chime in.
The leaves have been spectacular this fall, despite the drought and the caterpillar infestations, especially the revolting gypsy moths. We saw plenty of gypsy moth egg masses on the tree trunks, so next summer is shaping up to be another tough one for our trees. But these days, I am trying to live in the moment and just enjoy the stunning colors.
I have always enjoyed looking at the interesting plant communities that grow on boulders. This one was playing host to a few pine seedlings, some princess pine and several mosses. Those fallen leaves should break down nicely.