Susan Vaughan here. My dog Sasha insists on taking me for walks along our lane and on the woods path, showing me all the new growth and returning birds. So here are my faves, as we stroll along…Sasha Woods walk

Dogtooth violets carpet the woods more than usual this May. Before other low-growing plants take over, they’re a bright yellow (not violet) reminder the sun is in the sky for longer each day. I nearly tripped a few times admiring the expanse of color.Dogtooth Violets1

Purple trilliums dot the woods floor here and there among the dogtooth violets and in one spot have taken over. The flower is also called wake-robin and stinking Benjamin, not a flattering name for a pretty blossom, but up close you can’t miss the nasty scent.Trilliums

Our woods are home to a pair of barred owls. This morning the two of them perched silently in adjacent trees along the lane, apparently blasé about the crows flapping around and complaining about their presence. I can’t wait to see the owlets, decked out in fluffy feathers and learning to hunt frogs in the small pond. Sasha, of course, paid no attention to the activity in the trees. She was as usual nose to the ground.GFR Barred owl a 7-11

Many songbirds have returned north to our feeder to join the chickadees and nuthatches—goldfinches, house finches, and others I’d need to study a bird book to name. But the king—or queen—of the woods is a woodpecker. I laugh along whenever I hear the loud ha-ha-ha-ha-ha echo through the trees. The pileated woodpecker is the largest North American woodpecker, about crow size, but its red crest and long tail feathers make it appear larger. It was the model for Woody the Woodpecker.pileated-woodpecker-male_1421_web1

Lastly, seeing my own shrubs and flowers bloom cheers me, especially after such a long, cold winter.That was it for this walk. Ready for a biscuit and a nap, Sasha led the way to the door.Tulips Daffodils

*** A lucky May commenter will win a bag of Maine books. So come back often.

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  1. Gram says:

    We have added a groundhog to our backyard menagerie this year. I guess he just decided that the greens were better on our lawn than in the woods.

    • Gram, I hope the groundhog doesn’t destroy any of your fave plants. I’ll keep a lookout here for the critters. Generally, my dog keeps them away.

  2. Hey, Susan. Loved the pictures. Everyone up north surely does deserve a beautiful spring after the winter y’all had. I know you must’ve thought it would never end.
    We’ve had a really lovely May. Only one set of severe storms a bit north & east of us, but, thankfully, nothing like the tornadoes of last May. Returning to Maine again this fall, but farther south than you. I never can decide which part of Maine’s coast I like the best. LOL Keeps me returning and sampling the different areas. Of course, we loved the Moosehead Lake area, don’t want to leave out such an amazing place.I’ll be sharing. 🙂

    • Marsha,
      Thanks. Maine does deserve a beautiful spring. Unfortunately, this week it’s all rain, drizzle, and fog, or RDF, as my hubby calls it.
      Will miss seeing you this summer. Let me know where you’ll be.

  3. Emily Allen says:

    What lovely pictures. Makes me hope Spring is really on it’s way.

  4. Diane Amos says:

    The colorful array of flowers on your property make me want to capture them in a watercolor!

  5. Jan DeLima says:

    Lovely post, Susan! You captured the beauty of Maine!

  6. Jewel Hanley says:

    I love the purple trillium. Beautiful

    I have lots of yellow Coltsfoot. Not my favorite.

  7. Kait Carson says:

    Oh, thank you so much! We own a home in Aroostook County but have been living in Central Florida for the past two years. I’m completely homesick for everything – except black and deer flies – and you have given me a breath of spring. Gorgeous puppy too. Enjoy the woods times 2. Once for me and once for you.

  8. Nice photos, Susan! Thank you for a nice start to the day.

    • Glad you liked it. As you may have guesssed, this is a repeat. I’ve been fighting bronchitis for over a month and just didn’t have the energy to create something new.

  9. Skye says:

    Susan, your pictures are really lovely. Sasha looks like a Shepherd ( my favorite breed). I had a tea cup Yorkie who passed away December 29, 2016, and I still haven’t gotten over her loss. I also love birds and wild like, and in NJ, both are abundant; we’ve had so much rain, however, that walks are out of the question, but the greenery and flowers are in full bloom. I am relocating but I know I will miss the green and wild nature of my region.

    • Skye, I’m so sorry about your little Yorkie. It’s always hard to lose a furry family member. Sasha does look a bit like a shepherd, but she’s such a mix that we don’t know what she is.

  10. Skye says:

    oops, that should have read ‘wild life.’

  11. León says:

    I have no yard at all but there’s a tiny park surrounded by water next door to my apartment building here in Saco. I’ve been going there daily to see what’s growing – both flora and fauna. The tulips have gone by and hosta is sprouting up. The grass is full of dandelions and violets; the trees are full of migrating warblers. I’m loving watching a family of fuzzy little Mallard ducklings as they get bigger every day. Winters in Maine are long, but spring is so worth waiting for! I love your photos, especially the pileated woodpecker. I hear woodpeckers in “my” park but haven’t spotted them yet. They are most likely the little Downy ones.

  12. Pileateds are hard to spot, but easy to hear.

  13. Teri Linscott says:

    What a wonderful post, Susan! The pictures are gorgeous but they’ve set off my allergies. I’m getting stuffed up just looking at them! 😉

  14. Sally Chadbourne says:

    Beautiful pictures! I felt as if I had taken that walk with you and Sasha. I’ll admit I was a little confused about your statement that it was a long, hard winter … until I saw in an earlier comment and response that this piece is a repeat. Cold winter or mild – these are all beautiful and welcome signs of Spring! We’ve had an abundance of foxes and porcupines in our village in the past few weeks. Our pup Ginger doesn’t understand why she is not allowed to play with them!

  15. Angela LaRochelle says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your and Sasha’s beautiful stroll through the woods. I enjoyed the pictures and learning the names of some familiar looking plants. Now I really can’t wait to get outside and take a walk!

  16. Julianne Spreng says:

    These are all familiar to me from my childhood in the rural northern Ohio woods. The red trilliums were always at least three times larger than the whites and only grew near the bottom of the ravine near our house. Your photo shows more purples in one place then I’ve ever seen. The may apples, spring beauties, and dog tooth violets would blanket the ground under the tall beech trees. My sisters and I always thought the dog tooths looked ferocious with their spotted leaves. Older neighbors called them trout lilies. The pileated woodpecker was easily recognizable. No one looked or sounded like him, and we saw the results of his foraging all over the woods. We rarely saw the owls that lived in the forest, but we often heard them. They would hold an evening parliament two or three times a week. What with the hoo-hoo hoo-hoos repeated with rising volume and the occasional screech owl scream, it could get pretty loud. Thanks for the beautiful photos and the walk through your woods.

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