We are two weeks from the Autumn Equinox, and yesterday our first Norther of fall broke the back of the heat and humidity. They may return for a day or two, but not with conviction. Now the day opens up for us again, and we can return to walks in the evening and at midday.
Here are some scenes from the park last evening-
A Mushroom Forest-
A Faux Tuscan Mansion seen across the fields in the Brentwood Hills-
An old beech tree in a forest empty of summer birds. The red-eyed vireo and Wood Pee-wees and tanagers are gone.
Opuntia, the Prickly Pear Cactus, the only one that grows in the eastern U.S.. Growing here on the stone wall above the steeplechase course.
Another view toward the Brentwood Hills-
Another vista worthy of the English painter of the countryside, John Constable-
And the strangest and rarest sight of the evening- a dead young Timber Rattlesnake on the side of the road at the top of the Steeplechase course not 100 ft from people sitting on a blanket in the grass. I have walked these parks for thirty years. I have seen the sleek Black Racer snakes in the stone walls here, and found their shed skins. I once found a dead adult timber rattler in the road in a more remote part of the park. It had no visible injury, and I called the park people about it. They went looking for the corpse, but it was gone. Later in the day the Park Police found the dead snake up at the golf course clubhouse where someone had taken it to show it around.
But never would I have believed pit vipers would be so close to such heavily used parts of the park. Cars are big. This snake was small, and it had no signs of being run over. When we came back by 20 minutes later, the little snake was gone. I am certain someone took a stick and pushed it off into the field. Or perhaps it was not dead at all. Just playing possum. Very strange-
Click on picture to enlarge!