Friday, April 9, 2010

Plant and Animals

Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis, always shines as the whitest of the early spring flowers. Part of their glow comes from the fact that they bloom before any of the leaves appear on the trees, so the sunlight always seems to be reflecting from the petals. The short lived nature of the petals is also a factor. The petals only last one or two days, making it unlikely that they will lose their fresh luster before disappearing.

While in bloom, the leaf is folded around the flower stem, looking like a standard-bearer proudly displaying his flag. The leaf will eventually open and become prominent. The rhizomes contain a rich, red sap. I’ve been on several naturalist led hikes where our leader, after cautioning everyone not to pick wild flowers, dug out a bloodroot plant to show the red sap. People were always impressed, but to me, it seemed a waste of a plant.

The Eastern Box Turtles are active. They’ll come out on warm days and dig themselves back in on the extra cool nights.

Squirrel numbers are up this spring. It’s not just the overfed yard squirrels that are flourishing. The population in the woods is also very high. I hope the hawks take advantage of this bounty before the squirrel population crashes again.

This belly to the ground behavior is one I’ve seen before. I wonder if it’s a posture intended to reduce the chances of aerial attack. I guess something might mistakenly go for the elevated tail, but I just don’t see a hawk, with its wonderful eyesight, falling for such an obvious ruse.

Mourning Dove numbers have plummeted at the feeder. The doves are busy with either nests or courtship and don’t seem much interested in eating. The fire pink legs and feet always seem a bit unreal.

As of yesterday evening, there were still Juncos coming to the feeders. It shouldn’t be long before they head on north to the breeding grounds. There aren’t a lot of them left, but I’m still seeing three or four at a time. It seems odd to watch them hopping around in the green and growing lawn.

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