Turning from the cliff and those beautiful views of the valley I headed through the woods back towards the car. I figured if I headed more or less east I'd find my way. I didn't consciously see any landmarks, but I think my brain unconsciously kept me going in the right direction.
Under the still open canopy and May sunshine I basically followed the highest ridge of land which I knew would take me in the right direction.
The nasal 'hank-hank' of a White-breasted Nuthatch saw me on my way.
I've always felt the woods in early May is a magical place as it all turns green and the wildflowers bloom, followed by the leaves emerging. I kept my eyes peeled, knowing it was still very early for most wildflowers. Most of the green you see here are the leaves of the Dogtooth Violet and Wild Leeks. The latter suffer enormously from people foraging to pick them and in some areas are becoming locally extirpated. I once saw two ladies with garbage bags full!
My eyes caught a tiny patch of whitish colour on the otherwise brownish leaves and I took a closer look. This appears to be a Northern Azure butterfly, though the species is very variable and is similar to the Spring Azure. Did you see it in the first photograph?
Continuing on I spotted one of our very earliest wildflowers, the Hepatica. Although the leaves are just barely unfolding, this appears to be the Sharp-lobed Hepatica.
A little further on I was pleased to see the Dutchman's Breeches. To be honest I saw the leaves first; they're very easy to recognize.
Can you spot it on the lower right of that boulder?
Soon I came to a few White Birch trees and knew I was almost out of the woods.
I found my way to an old stone fencerow composed of giant limestone boulders. Someone once went to a great deal of work to clear the adjoining field for farming!
And I'll leave you in the not-yet-shade of this huge old Sugar Maple. Tomorrow - hunting for the homestead.