Jessica Decker is an Elkhart native with an eye for nature photography. You can see more of her work on her community blog on The Elkhart Truth, Nature Lovers.
One of my favorite family activities to do with my fiancé, Douglas Decker, this time of year is taking walks in the woods. Sometimes we’re looking for something specific; other times we are on adventures to see how many different types of birds, animals and plants we can find.
Taking a walk in the woods can be very relaxing or even exciting. There are some special things that grow in the woods this time of year that many people in our area are out to find – morel mushrooms. Just remember while looking down during your search to also look around at all of the nature surrounding you! I know a person who was so involved in a search that she got very startled by a wild turkey that had been scared out of its hiding spot.
During spring, our environment is constantly changing, so that path you are used to walking might look different from day-to-day – especially after a good rain. Keep your eyes open, or you just might miss out on something beautiful. Also don’t forget about poison ivy and its friends!
Sometimes I like to take a rest and look up instead of all around for a different view. What a beautiful day it was.
Oh hey, what is that? A morel mushroom! Just what we were hoping to find on this hike!
A Catbird can sometimes sound like a cat's meowing. The Chippewa Indians called it the bird that cries with grief because of its raspy-sounding call. It can often mimic other birds also.
I love wildlife, and I think that this rabbit had a nest nearby based on the way it was acting.
Oh my, that is a pretty one! I sure do love looking for morels!
It's a sign of spring seeing these pretty birds by the marshes. Males usually come back first to defend their territory. They are one of the most numerous birds in Indiana.
Saw this little guy sunning himself out in the marsh.
What a beautiful sight! Oh, how I love to see the sun shining right on a morel in the spring.
I love flowers, and this one was just too pretty to walk by without taking a picture.
My mom sure would have liked to have been out with us this day. Mushroom hunting has been happening for generations in our families. Think we had some angels pointing us in the right direction this day.
For some reason, I feel like I am being watched. What a beautiful hawk. I’m not sure what kind of hawk this is, but it was keeping a close eye on us. I was hoping it didn't want my morels.
Wow, what a lucky day! It was so warm and sunny, plus we found a lot of morels. Too bad they don't grow all year!
This wasn’t the type of fungus that I was looking for. Some people might think I’m a little strange, but I like to find the beauty in all of nature and the different types and colors of some fungus, in my opinion, are so wonderfully beautiful.
Hey look, another morel! They have such a natural beauty when they are fresh.
This tree must have fallen in some of the recent high winds. The wooden spikes were taller than any I had ever seen.
This was the first big cluster of morels my fiancé, Douglas Decker, had ever found. Unfortunately, I couldn't fit them all in the picture. He sure was one excited guy, though!
These bees were following us throughout the woods. I thought they were trying to show us where good mushroom spots were. I guess they were very busy on such a nice day, though.
I was sitting on a log taking a break and couldn't help but take a picture to capture the beauty of the woods around me.
This fungus was so pretty. The colors on some can be so very vibrant.
I am so happy that I managed to catch this picture. Yellow Swallowtails are beautiful butterflies. I’ve been waiting all winter to see the butterflies come back.
I couldn’t help but add one more mushroom picture. They were so exciting to find. To all that have and are still hunting, good luck! Even if you aren't finding any, look around at everything else around you in the woods!
This bird decided to show up just as I found a group of black morels. I just had to get a picture. I don't think that I have ever seen one of these before, and he was jumping all over the forest floor. It was hard to get a good picture, but if anyone knows what kind of bird this is, please let me know. Very pretty bird.
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