World’s Smallest Woolly Bear

Last week we took advantage of an extra day off to meet with family and hike an old, familiar park.  We hadn’t been there in five years, so we joined T’s parents for a stroll down memory lane.  I meant to take pictures of the trails, but we chatted so much about their recent trip to England, it completely slipped my mind until we got in the car to leave. Oops.  Luckily, I remembered in time to get the sign for this most southernly park in the county.

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As you may guess, it was a wet day with muddy trails, but we maneuvered wet spots to walk two miles down to the Oatka Creek and back.  It is a park that used to be farmland; in fact, an old road lined with massive oaks and maples cuts through the center of the park. After it was bought by the county, nature took over and now young forests are reclaiming former pastures. Vines climb over tumbling rock walls that used to designate cropland. (I’m guessing here, but I have seen these rock walls in many county parks here- I love how nature takes over once human activity ceases.)  Here is the beginning of that road-this pic shows it maintained for occasional use by visitors. But the rest of the road that extends through the park is a lovely lane, void of blacktop and guardrails. I promise I will take pictures next time I go there.

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And here is the Oatka Creek, which, ironically, runs through my hometown south of this point. It grows as it meanders north before it empties into the Genesee River to Lake Ontario. Wikipedia tells me this creek is the third longest tributary to the Genesee River.

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We took this picture from the bridge that crosses the creek. In the spring, we have seen several people fly fishing for trout.

And what did we discover in my in-law’s driveway? The world’s smallest woolly bear caterpillar!! Note T’s hand in the picture for scale. This is the caterpillar for the Isabella Tiger Moth- scientific name Pyrrharctia isabella. I’ve never seen one so small. Maybe it portends a short winter with little snow? One can only hope. (Actually, I love snow and hope for lots of it so we can go snowshoeing!!)

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Grow big, little isabella!

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