Spring Vermont woods

Today I got up early and drove over the reservoir. It's a nice time of year to be in the woods as things are dry, open, and relatively bug-free -- though the black flies are starting to come out.

Things are only now starting to green up -- the understory is clear, and the trees are only beginning to leaf out, especially at higher elevations.

This is a good time to see moose -- they are on the move this time of year after wintering in the mountains. While I saw lots of moose sign, including some quite fresh tracks, this chipmunk was the largest land animal I came across (more images here). I also scared up a couple of grouse and the sounds of male grouse 'drumming' filled the woods at times.

Wildflowers bloom in the short temperate period before other, larger plants leaf out and block out sunlight on the forest floor.

Painted trillium.

Fresh bear sign, I wonder if this is from last autumn or if some bear recently made these marks after emerging from hibernation; perhaps a hungry bruin was recently poking around looking for a few left over beechnuts.

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