Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Game Cam

Some recent game cam photos:

A sleek bobcat (Lynx rufus).

Murphy's law of game cameras:
You get mostly southern views of northbound animals. (Coyote, Canis latrans.)

Looks like she barely escaped that bicycle pump. (Virginia opossum, Didelphis virginiana.)

Finally, our first shot of a beaver in action. (Castor canadensis.) Click to embiggen!

We nearly ruined the game cam, trying to get a photo of a beaver. Positioned it too near the creek last spring. The heavy rains came, and... well, it's not meant to be an underwater camera. It still works, but not as well as it once did. The batteries used to last forever; now they need replacing every two weeks or so.

And this was the only beaver pic we got out of that sorry situation:


If that's the miscreant who gnawed down the only white-blooming redbud in our woods, I wouldn't be too sad if that flash gave him a mild heart attack. I really miss that tree.


Sirens from emergency vehicles screaming down the highway roused us in the wee hours last night. Jasmine howled, which she almost never does. It sounded so funny, I couldn't help but laugh, even as I was trying not to wake up too much. But then every coyote in the woods howled too. There are a lot more of them than I'd thought. I had imagined the population somewhat reduced, since our chicken flock has stayed intact for the past year. Now I'm worried.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Finally wonderful, Pt 2

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis). The bloodroots are almost two weeks late this year, due to cold weather.

I haven't tackled moss identification yet. This is a common one here.

Cutleaf Toothwort (Cardamine concatenata). Most of them are still not open yet.

First damselfly of the season. They are frustratingly difficult to identify.

Hepatica (Hepatica nobilis). You know it's a late spring, when the hepatica aren't open til after mid-March. I've found them blooming in January and February, most years.

The beavers are out in force and at it again.

Yesterday was decidedly not wonderful (got colder, rained all day). And snow flurries this morning! I think the wonderful is due to return tomorrow, though.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Finally wonderful

The meteorologist was right Friday morning, when she described the coming weather: finally wonderful!

Wildflowers are popping up everywhere. I've been out with the camera, and will post some pictures soon. (It's raining this morning, or I'd be out trying to find more.)

I should know by now to take the camera everywhere, though, since I ended up really wishing I'd had it yesterday in Birmingham. You just never know when you're going to be surprised by bagpipers.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Usnea strigosa

We see this lichen here all the time, only usually without quite so many things on it. The technical name for the things is apothecia. If that's exciting to you, you may want to look here for related technical terms. I spent way too much time there, following links and trying to figure out what was meant when they said something was shaped like a skittle. The candy or a British bowling pin?

Anyway, I finally identified the lichen: Bushy beard lichen; Old man’s beard; Usnea strigosa.

I haven't found a good southern or eastern North American lichen identification site. I was lucky and happened on a page that told me that this "is the only Southern Usnea with large, pale, terminal apothecia."1

The Ohio Moss and Lichen Association has some good photos, including this one that shows what Usnea strigosa more commonly looks like. But there's no key. Let me know if you find a good lichen site.


1If you could actually get the pdf file to come up, it might be useful. I had to make do with the hodge-podge cached html version.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Pileated woodpeckers wuz here... Dryocopus pileatus calling card.

This fallen log is along the path that I've been taking to scout wildflowers. They bloom first on the higher elevations, and I've made the trek two or three times in the past week, with no luck. Nothing blooming yet. It's been an unusually cold winter, followed by an annoyingly tardy spring.

Since it's been raining in near-biblical proportions, I get to tromp through plenty of mud and standing water to reach the higher elevations. A good test for my new rain boots, I guess, but now I feel slightly guilty at how abused they look, so soon out of the box.

Plants are starting to emerge, at least. It won't be much longer.

Via my superior weather radar-sleuthing skills, I suspected that it would rain again before we got back. I was right. Next time, we're taking two umbrellas... I keep forgetting that somebody is a lot taller than me, for umbrella purposes.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The better to see you with

Here's a recent game camera shot of a reddish coyote. I still haven't managed to get a better photo of the suspected melanistic (black) coyote. I think this one may be his/her mate. I've gotten a couple of shots of them together, but Red here is always the one in the foreground.

After viewing our previous shots, the local Extension agent agreed that the black canid was most likely a coyote. He advised me to bait the area with meat for a better photo. I'm a little afraid that would attract the wrong element though... stray dogs. There have been a few more of those around lately.