Archive for April, 2014

March Showers Bring Spring Flowers

Friday, April 25th, 2014
Marsh Marigold

Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)

Much of the Killbuck Valley is carpeted with bright yellow Marsh Marigolds, and I found two small clumps in our swamp within site of the watercress patch, on the far side of some deep muck.  Sticky, smelly, more-than-booth-high muck.

Claytonia virginica

Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica)

Mom has never documented Marsh (or perhaps more aptly Swamp) Marigolds before, and I don’t remember seeing them.  Everything else blooming right now, in forest, field, and fen, is familiar.  The shady east-facing slopes of our hollow are crawling with Spring Beauties, in various sizes and ranging from deep violet stripes to almost pure white.  A lot of sunny spots also have Spring Beauty.

Rue Anemone (Anemonella thalictroides)

Rue Anemone (Anemonella thalictroides)

The east-facing face of our hollow, on the far side of the pond, is dominated by Rue Anemone, with surprisingly little overlap with the Beauties.  Virtually all of the Anemone are white, but I found one plant that is more of a violet color.

Rue Anemone, (Anemonella thalictroides)

Rue Anemone, (Anemonella thalictroides)

Downy Yellow Violet (Viola pubescens)

Downy Yellow Violet (Viola pubescens)

Mom says that we have 3 different yellow violets. I found one example, and I’m putting it down as a Downy Yellow, although some Google searching indicates some controversy over popular and scientific names. It was near the waterfall and not far from the only White Trillium that seems to be blooming in the entire county.  The rest of the Trillium just sprouted a couple of days ago.

White Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum)

White Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum)

 

Wild Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata)

Wild Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata)

Round-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica americana)

Round-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica americana)

I only found one Round-lobed Hepatica, but there are lots of Bloodroot, most of them apparently getting ready to bloom during the next several days.

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

 

Azure Bluet (Houstonia caerulea)

Azure Bluet (Houstonia caerulea)

The woodland flowers are in a race against time, trying to process as much sunlight as they can before the trees leaf out and shade them.  There are just a few patches of Bluet in the woods, but so far,  I don’t see any in the sunlight areas around the cabin.  With more time to grow deep weedy roots, and long sturdy stems, the larger field flowers have just begun to poke their leaves above ground, but some of the smaller wildflowers are growing in the sunny spots.

Purple Wild Violet (Viola sororia)

Purple Wild Violet (Viola sororia)

Gill-over-the-Ground Glechoma hederacea)

Gill-over-the-Ground (Glechoma hederacea)

Not really having a lawn to worry about, I consider Violets and Creeping Charlie (Gill-over-the-ground, a pervasive member of the mint family) as being flowers, not weeds.  Arguably, some of the evasive European plants that have established themselves in the USA should be considered weeds.

Chickweed (Stellaria media)

Chickweed (Stellaria media)

Chickweed is starting to bloom, and we’ve already got a couple of those below-the-mower-height dandelions blooming next to the cabin.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Warm Days for Cold Blooded Beasts

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

It seems like every reptile and amphibian in the valley has been out this weekend, and most of them spend their evenings singing at the top of their lungs.

I took my iPad and a microphone out to the edge of the swamp last night and recorded the frogs singing (click to hear it–you wont’ want to miss this).  Peaking at over 85 decibels, it was pretty impressive, with the peepers making most of the noise, and some wood frogs, and maybe leopard frogs mixed in.  I went back to the swamp this afternoon to see if I could get some pictures, but all the action was on the other side of the road, in a flooded cornfield, which was full of American toads (above), singing an entirely different song, with a bit of mating mixed in.

Gartner Snake

Much quieter than the amphibians, the snakes were also out in force this weekend.  Elizabeth and I each saw a couple gartner snakes.  I ran into the little fellow above just below our waterfall, and he didn’t seem to be in a big hurry to get away, so we decided to do a photoshoot.