Dog and I enjoyed a pleasant walk down through the valley between Roundtop and Nell’s Hill. In this area, many of the valleys between mountains have been cleared and homes built through them. The steep hills remain largely forested and undeveloped, but the flatter valleys are usually considered prime territory. So I am lucky to have a forested valley so near my doorstep.
The habitat down in the valley is moister and shadier than up on the hills. Sunlight doesn’t penetrate until midday. Down in here are lots of ferns and other moisture-loving woodland plants. In the summer the valley is filled with ferns, thousands of them. The little Beaver Creek runs through the center, and the temperature is much cooler.
During the fall, sunlight penetrates a bit earlier in the day, though is always filtered by the trees of the forest. Except for the ever-green Christmas ferns, the other species are brown or gone by mid-November. There’s a nice pond down here just under two miles from the nearest public and paved road. The pond is the only nearby opening in the forest, and I enjoy coming down here and just sitting, listening to the quiet on a calm day when there are no leaves to rustle and break the silence.
Sometimes I find interesting birds down on the pond or near it. Not today. A dozen wary Canada geese eyed me suspiciously but I saw nothing more unusual than that. You can see them in the second photo, somehow blending in with the browns of the trees and cattails.
The blue jays screamed, the turkey vultures took advantage of thermals over the pond to swirl overhead. A Red-tailed hawk caught the air and joined the turkey vultures. Dog sniffed in the mud along the banks.
It was a pleasant hour or so. Nothing too much happened. That was the best part.