I Spy Friday…Woods walk for ferns

I spy Friday Ferns

Early this spring my husband and I began blazing a trail through our woods. We wanted a wide trail so our grandkids could walk with us through the woods and venture out on their own a little without being snared by briars and thorny bushes. One morning in mid April,I grabbed the camera and headed out the door for a little exercise, a little quiet, and a search for ferns.

Springs first offering on the woods walk was a group of fiddleheads. A fiddlehead is the tightly curled frond of a young fern. Left on the plant, fiddleheads unfurl into a new frond or the leaf of the fern. Look at the curled scroll design at the end of a violin or cello and you can see where the fiddlehead gets it’s name. One of the first plants to sprout in the spring, the fiddlehead is used in salads or soups.


I wasn’t able to see a fully developed fern on this woods walk, only the fiddleheads. I didn’t lose heart, just kept on walking waiting for other discoveries.

Around one of the many bends in the trail I spotted a feather, a very large feather. I didn’t think the feather had enough striping to be a turkey feather and upon investigation I think it is the feather of a turkey vulture. These large soaring birds have a keen sense of smell that enables them to locate the carcasses of a dead animals. One bite at a time these scavengers clean up the countryside.

turkey vulture feather

Our trail dips into a gully and on the other side I noticed a tree with lots of holes, amazing, large holes! The holes looked so uniform and large that I wondered if they could have been done by a woodpecker. Through my sunroom windows, I’ve seen a few Pileated Woodpeckers on the trees, but I didn’t know how large a hole they could peck. It turns out they can peck a large hole!

Pileated Woodpecker holes

Nearing the end of the trail, a bit of color topped off the woods walk. A beautiful little purple flower made it’s appearance, Viola tricolor or a johnny jump up. This wild flower can also bloom in white or yellow. It has a creeping habit, blooming in partial shade in grasslands and farmlands all summer.


I don’t know what you’ll find on your woods walk because the woods are constantly changing. I didn’t find a fully developed fern but I found the fiddleheads along with other interesting things. Grab a camera, a pair of field glasses, a kid or two, and get moving!

I spy with my little eye….your guess is as good as mine!

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Sarah Korhnak

A nature lover busy making her own backyard brilliant!

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