Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wild Wednesday ~ Woodland Flowers

We didn't go hiking this weekend--E and Z requested a break from hiking on their birthday weekend--and, truthfully, though Saturday's weather was gorgeous, it was kind of nice to hang at home (until Sunday afternoon, when those same birthday boys convinced their parents to take them to the movies). We did, however, get out in our own woods. Saturday morning I had a great bird walk, with sightings of a yellow warbler, black-and-white warbler, ovenbird, black-throated green warbler, yellow-bellied sapsucker, and an immature bald eagle. The birds Sunday morning were more reserved, but later in the day I got a great, naked-eye view of a rose-breasted grossbeak.

And the woodland flowers are starting to come in bloom. I've been seeing red trillium and trout lily along the trail I walk when E and Z have baseball practice, but we don't have any of either of those flowers growing in our woods (not that I've found so far), so this weekend was really the first of the woodland flowers for us.

Not too far down our trail, I spied this Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphullum), a flower I just love for its exotic shape. It's the first one I've seen this year.

We also have two different violets growing in the woods, which I will someday key out.

Right beside the river, I spied this little white flower growing, which I thought on first glance was a wild strawberry. But on closer inspection, I saw it was something else, which I'm pretty sure is wood anemone (Anemone quinquefolia). It's always a surprise and delight to discover new (to me) flowers growing on our little patch of earth.

Trees are starting to flower now, too. The plum in our yard is snowy with blossoms and buzzing with early bees. And along the edges of the woods, common shadbush, or serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea), one of the earliest flowering trees, are in bloom (though fading fast).

The cherries are getting close to ready to flower (I think these are black cherry, Prunus serotina, but I'll have to double-check that).

And not nearly flowering, but pretty with its deeply parallel-veined leaves is the alternate-leaved dogwood.

Finally, not a flower at all, but a different sort of natural beauty, I found the picked-clean skull and jaw of a rodent carcass I had seen here sometime during the winter (I thought I'd shared a picture of it, but I don't see it when I scroll back through my archives). Good to know that the nutrients are getting cycled back into the woods. One of these days, if I remember to, I'll take my skull identification materials with me on a hike and see if I can figure out what the unfortunate animal was (I suspect maybe chipmunk; it seemed too big for a mouse or vole).

What's wild in your neck of the woods this week?

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