New Discoveries

Michael Ken
14 min readFeb 23, 2023


One of my favorite things about living in the woods is discovering new wildlife on the property. I have always felt a connection to animals. I had turtles, frogs, dogs, cats, and other creatures as a young child. I still remember my mother’s horrified expression when she saw her eight-year-old son walk into the house with a jar containing three black widow spiders.

Nature is cool and awesome. We can learn many things from watching how animals interact with their environment. Lately, I’ve been using trail cameras to track wildlife movements in the area, and it’s been interesting to witness how evolution cleverly guides an animal’s behavior. Humans can think and problem-solve, but nature has been solving problems in the wild well before homo sapiens were around. Time is wise.


My home is in rural North Carolina, where farmlands intersect with the woodlands. The front and back yards were carved out of a wooded area, leaving a fortress of tall trees surrounding the open land. To the east is a large pine grove planted about 60 to 70 years ago. The pines, now, are tall and strong.

Behind my house are the natural woodlands that remain as they have always been. The land is full of trees and thick brush. Walking 50 meters into this area, you can encounter maple, beech, birch, cedar, and dogwood trees. There are also fir, black cherry, sweetgum, ash, hickory, cypress, and several species of oak and pine trees. The forest floor is covered with a large variety of fallen leaves and pine needles. There are so many trees that you don’t see dirt, just a layer of old leaves that carpet the area, sealing in moisture that helps other vegetation thrive.

Heading north through the woods, the land starts to slope toward a creek that flows year-round. The area is ripe for wildlife.


It had been raining steadily for two days, and I was eager to see if the creek was swollen. I grabbed a raincoat, camera, and safety harness and headed out the door. The rain had slowed, but the soaked tree branches splattered large water droplets as the wind blew. I zipped my coat, pulled the hood over my head, and made my way to the pine grove. The air was cold and smelled of pine…



Michael Ken

My journal about life in the woods. Visit to see my complete journal, photographs, and articles.