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Discovery Walk – November – Ma & Pa Trail

November 20, 2011

The second of my “Discovery Walks” – I had planned a walk on the Ma & Pa Trail in Bel Air, so I used the opportunity to “Look Up, Down, & Around” and actually notice something on the trail, rather than focus on how fast I could walk the 4 miles.

Setting the scene / trailhead:

Looking Up – Vultures:

The most fascinating discovery was right at the beginning of the walk. Looking “up”, I saw a raptor lazily flying around. I kept focused on it, and noticed it settled in a tree. Then, there were more. And each one flew around and eventually settled in the same tree, or one nearby. It ended up that there were five vultures.

These trees look scary, don’t they? It was a very cloudy day.

More where that one came from. Eventually five vultures settled in. I got three in a pic:

So let’s move to “Looking Down“. We have a colorful red & yellow spider, a gravel-crusted earthworm, some moss, and a feather – surely not natural:



Possibly after effects of all the rain we had in the late summer/early fall, along with a hurricane and a tropical storm – stream erosion and debris caught in the fencing above the stream culvert:


Heavenly Waters stream runs through the park, and eventually flows into Winters Run:

Taking a “Look Around” – There were several large trees down which is not unusual for around here after all our storms & rain; a nice splash of red in the woods; and a plastic bag caught in the trees:


And what happened to these trees?? Deer?

If I was solely walking, and not consciously observing, I never would’ve noticed these:

Rounding out my discoveries, there are about a dozen birdhouses along the trail. I couldn’t tell if they are being used, how they got there, or if anyone is maintaining them. Here is one:

And there is a new art installation in the park. The first time I saw it was from the adjacent highway. From that perspective, it looks like a discarded backyard basketball hoop. Fortunately, it ended up not being trash, but a sculpture:

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