Thursday, March 24, 2011

Liverwort, Zebra Swallowtails and Northern Water Snake

By creeping along the river at a snail's pace today, I noticed a lot more than I had just yesterday. Bloodroot and Rue Anemone were the main show, but I also saw one Hepatica, Carolina Silverbells, a yellow composite I haven't identified yet, Paw Paw flowers, and some interesting leaves that will be worth watching during the summer, to see what kind of bloom arises from them. Also seen was a mating pair of Sleepy Duskywing butterflies, and a Green Anole looking for a mate by showing off his beautiful red throat. Zebra Swallowtails flitted along the riverside like it was a highway. I saw at least eight. They were everywhere.

While I sat on the side of the river drawing the Liverwort (above) I paused a minute to watch the water run past me, and was surprised to see a 3 foot long Northern Water Snake glide by. The snake pulled up onto sandbar just beyond where I sat and stuck his head out of the water to look at me. I imagined him thinking: "Whoa - what is that thing?" He swam upstream and then pulled back onto the sandbar to look again. I'm sure he thought, "It sure is big!" before continuing upstream and disappearing behind a big rock jutting from the water. I kept watch, hoping to see him come out from behind the rock. He didn't for several minutes, until finally I saw only his head stick out, looking in my direction. What? Was I sitting on top of (or too close to) his or her hole? Even though snakes do not think in the way I imagined, I felt distinctly that I was in his space and that he was waiting for me to leave.

Daisy completely missed the thrill of the snake's visit. She was sleeping peacefully behind me, on the next level up the hill. She woke as I packed my bag, and off we went towards home.

Sleepy Duskywings, mating


nancysbaldwin said...

Liverwort is an unpleasant name for something so pretty! Great pic again, Helen.

Elva Paulson said...

Your liverwort is awesome ... and the butterflies are beautiful.

Helen said...

Thanks Nancy and Elva!

Folk Heart said...

As a native Ohioan, I have spent many a beautiful afternoon river hiking, and always the water snakes would swim by. So many, many times, they would slow down to our pace and just observe us. Curious things are they! Love the photos and are such a joy.