Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January 25: Turkeys in the woods

Hiking on Ragged Mountain this morning, we followed several lines of turkey tracks up a dirt road. Judging from the tracks, which proceeded straight up the road, these were determined turkeys who knew where they were going, no wandering out of line or straying into the woods. We saw no actual turkeys (though we did flush a grouse), just their tracks and scat--what they left behind.

Later, tromping around on the snowy crust in the woods, we came upon a fungus known as turkey tail looking particularly colorful against the snow, much as actual turkey feathers would have. This clump is barely larger than the size of one turkey track:

These colorful, layered fans are only a small part of the entire fungus, with most of the organism hidden within the bark of the tree on which it's living. Also, I think it's a little unusual to see a turkey tail in "full bloom" surrounded by snow, just as it would be to see a tom turkey fanning his tail this time of year. As with the birds and the simple etchings of their tracks, what we're seeing is not the whole story. 

Written on the snow:
beginnings of wild stories
about wild turkeys.

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