The woods are exploding with life and color. The first green comes from the wild leeks, or ramps, that grow in drifts among the trees. I decided to try cooking some this year, and set out with a basket to harvest a few - keeping an eye out for morel mushrooms, which often grow among them under oaks.
Little did I know how tenacious they are, and that the stems would snap long before the bulbs pulled up. Having nothing to dig with, I came away empty handed.
I wish I could capture the beauty of the wild flowers carpeting the forest floor right now. They are all so small, and don't show up nearly as well in a photo as they do in real life. Cut-leaved toothwort, spring beauties, trout lilies and violets are all in their full glory now, and the triliums are already in bud.
I never thought I'd say this about an insect that wasn't a butterfly, but this little critter was my thrill for the day. I actually gasped when I saw it.
I thought at first it was a kind of tiny hummingbird moth, gliding from flower to flower, hovering and drinking from them with that long beak. At one point, several were floating together like a flock, moving as one. It was absolutely magical, like nothing I had ever seen before.
This one settled near my leek basket just long enough for me to snap a photo. A Google search turned up its identity: It's called a bee fly. The bee fly family is very large, but remains one of the most mysterious. Much remains unknown about its life cycle and habits.
Every time I think there's nothing more to discover in my own backyard, I find something new and wondrous.
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