Thirsty Thursday

Folks, Ol’ Wally is feelin’ the heat these days, so this old squirrel took himself off to a shady woods spot. I noticed something…spotty about a pile of wood chips dumped from a recent tree cutting.

mushroom 1

Mushrooms.

Now, forgive me if this isn’t your idea of water, but on a hot summer’s day you know these mushrooms are only sprouting because they did find water. And apparently they didn’t all sprout at the same time, because as you will see, they mushrooms are at different growth stages, from just sprouting to dying. Now I can’t say if the  reason for this was just random, or if it had anything to do with shade versus sun or dry versus wetter areas of the pile. But I did find the different stages to be interesting.

mushroom 3

mushroom 2

mushroom 5

mushroom 4

Have a cool day!

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there,

So we are going from last week’s obscure flower, to an even obscurer one!

Mystery # 97

This is actually a flower! Give me your guesses and I’ll check in later!

~~~

The mystery was solved today! This is the flower of a sedge.

sedge

I’m not going to try to go further than that with the identification, because… these things are hard! Miz Flora just laughed at me. It is easy however, to tell it’s a sedge, or a Carex in scientific terms, because “sedges have edges”. That means their leaves are not flat like grass, but triangular. You can kind of see it in the photo. And by the way, another grass-like plant that isn’t, is rushes. “Rushes are round”, meaning their plant leaves are round.

Thanks for joining us today!

Thirsty Thursday

One of our readers has sharp eyesight and recently spotted these in white objects in her yard on a Reston Lake. At the risk of sounding like Hickory, do any of you folks recognize them?

Turtle eggshells

Our reader quickly identified the soft leathery shells as turtle eggs.

However, she thought the baby turtles and hatched had made their way down to the lake. Ol’ Wally had bad news. Turtle eggs usually spend the summer incubating in the warm ground and hatch in late summer or early fall. And they don’t pull the eggshells up with them as they dig through the dirt.

Turtle eggs dug up

So unfortunately, those eggs were dug up, peeled open and the innards licked clean, probably by a raccoon.

Red-bellied Turtle

However, this Reston yard seems to be a favorite, because a week later these folks spotted another turtle digging her nest hole. We think from the stripes on her face, this is a Red-bellied Turtle. So far we hear these eggs have stayed in the ground!

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there,

Here’s a wildflower that manages to keep its roots in those corners that don’t get mowed too often.

Mystery #96

Do you recognize it?

I’ll be back later with the mystery answer!

~~~

Hmm, looks like I had a little goof with posting. Sorry for the double post today, but hope some of you found the mystery.

So, the flower. I wanted to call it Ox-eye Daisy, but Miz Flora corrected me. Those tiny petals, and many of them, mean this flower is an aster, even if it does have the yellow center like the Ox-eye Daisy.

White Aster

Honestly, when Nutmeg and I brought these pictures back, we learned we hadn’t looked carefully enough. The differences between ‘Small White Aster’ and ‘Bushy Aster’ and ‘Upland White Aster’ are tiny!

Put it this way, folks:I learned a lesson. If you really want to know the difference in aster flowers, you must have your plant in front of you and your field book open, something squirrels don’t carry around in their paws. We prefer asking our elders.

 

Thirsty Thursday

I think you folks have heard from Nutmeg that we squirrels live in Reston, a planned suburb community. Several years ago those humans took it upon themselves to do a renovation to the streams running through town. Back then we weren’t running our blog, but we did soon after, and so Nutmeg had photo of the stream plantings the year after this stream nearest us got its makeover.

Snakeden Branch at Soapstone Drive

That’s Snakeden Branch in the spring of 2012, and here it is again this week.

Snakeden Branch

It’s a spring view versus a summer view, but I think it’s clear these plants love it. Viburnums, Elderberry, Jewelweed…they fill the little stream valley and give us wildlife lots of places to hide as we trek to the water on these hot days.

Thank you, Reston humans!

Butterfly Weed

Miz Flora made us look closer at this orange flower.

Butterfly Weed

“Do you see anything familiar?” she asked. Neither Hickory or I knew what to say. She finally twitched her tail and said, “Don’t look at the color, look at the little flower shape.”

“It is kind of familiar,” Hickory said.

I just flicked my ears. “I give up.”

That made Miz Flora happy. “Butterfly Weed! Relative of Common Milkweed.”

“That pink ball flower?” Hickory looked at her in disbelief.

“Go check.”

Sure enough, when we put our noses to them, the little flowers looked the same.

“Squashed acorns,” Hickory muttered. “That would have made a great mystery plant.”