Living in the Wet Woods

Nana always said the rain was nature’s way of adding sparkle to the outdoors.

~Mehmet Murat Ildan

Surely the woods are sparkling now after what seems like weeks of rain. We actually have had some occasional nice weather, but the past few days have been soakers. Our clay soils have added some slickness to our woods walking and the usually intermittent stream below the house has been running at full capacity for several weeks now. Yesterday, there were two small waterfalls providing a wonderful soundscape for a walk in the woods. I have left the “real” camera at home this week and used my iPhone for recording what I see (plus a couple of trail camera images at the end of the post).

The unnamed creek below our house (maybe we will call it Buckeye Bottoms for all the Painted Buckeye that thrive in the creek bottom?) (click photos to enlarge)

Perhaps the raindrops do provide a certain sparkle to the woods when you stop and look closely.

Raindrops on a skeletonized leaf

Rainy days definitely hep me walk more slowly and take notice of (and appreciate) details of our woods.

American Beech leaf still hanging on. This is a characteristic of this wonderful tree (especially the younger ones) – it hangs onto its leaves longer than any other species in our woods and provides a golden brown patchwork to the forest in winter
Beech trees also provide a beautiful canvas for crustose lichens
A single Heartleaf Ginger leaf in a mossy embrace at the base of a tree trunk
A fallen branch reveals the patterned underside of a fungus

I have a dilemma with the trail cameras out now. I love checking them to see what surprises they unveil, but I hesitate to walk our woods too much for fear of disturbing the wildlife I am trying to record. But, the woods provide such a peaceful and fulfilling setting that I’m sure we will find a balance. I set one camera on still photos mode for the first time this week just to see how those images compare to the video. I put it on a small tree facing uphill on our south-facing slope where the deer have obviously been digging through the leaves for acorns (and maybe hickory nuts). Below is one of a series of images the camera provided. There were six deer in this herd and four of them were bucks with 6 or more points!

The trail camera on our south-facing slope captured a herd of deer foraging for acorns

This week I started placing one trail camera on a specific spot of interest in the woods rather than along a main game trail or the creek. I’m hoping to learn how some various small woodland features are utilized. On one walk, we discovered a stump hole that had a smaller well worn hole in it. The camera shows a mouse running in and out after dark. This mouse seems to have a longer tail than most of the other mice I have seen, so I am not sure what species this is. If anyone has ideas, please drop me a note.

A mystery mouse caught by a trail camera as it runs in and out of a stump hole near the house

While we enjoy walking in our rainy woods, I am looking forward to that thing called sunshine returning this weekend. I believe the woods will start to explode with signs of spring over the next week. Stay tuned…

11 thoughts on “Living in the Wet Woods

    • Hey David…I have two Browning Strike Force PRO XD Trail Game Camera (24MP) . I have been pleased with them. I just bought one of their Dark Ops cameras as it does not have the visible red dots from the IR at night. Large mammals often notice the red dots, and some, especially coyotes, are obviously spooked by it. Most other critters seem somewhat hesitant or curious by those tiny glowing spots. I haven’t had the Dark Ops version out long enough to see how I like it although it seems that the resolution may not be quite as good.

  1. We are so enjoying your articles. We would like to put a camera up in our wooded backyard. Can you please tell us what you use. We do not have WIFI. We love the pictures and videos you send. We also have activity in our backyard and would love to catch some of it. Thanks.

    • Thanks, Nancy. Based on a friend’s recommendation, we have two Browning Strike Force PRO XD Trail Game Cameras (24MP). They do a great job. The only down side is that, at night, there are two visible tiny red dots from the IR. Those visible red lights seem to spook wary animals like coyotes. Because of that I bought one of Brownings’ Dark Ops cameras, which are totally black at night. But, based on my initial trials, I do not like that one as much as the resolution does not seem quite as good in low light.

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