M is for Mayapple

Mayapple

The Mayapple, Podophyllum peltatumis, a terrific spring plant whose flower is ofter overlooked–except by us squirrels, and the occasional box turtle. Actually, we think the turtles overlook the flowers and focus on the mayAPPLE itself, because they are one of the only animals that eat them.

Why? Because the fruit of the mayapple is poisonous, except when it is ripe. How do you tell when it’s ripe? By smell.

Mayapple fruit

Tough, huh?

That’s why you’ll see we tagged this plant as ‘danger’ and ‘plants that are not food’. None of us squirrels here at The Squirrel Nutwork are willing to take a chance on eating Mayapples, and neither should you humans. Leave the mayapple eating to the box turtles.

Mayapple

 

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there,

Hickory Squirrel with you human readers again today on our ‘Sunday off for good behavior’ in the Blogging A to Z Challenge. Here at The Squirrel Nutwork, Sundays are Mystery days. Today’s photo is one of those often overlooked plants in the neighborhood’s not-so-grassy lawn.

Mystery #

Give me your best guess for what this plant is!

~~~

Yes! We had a correct guess today! This is chickweed, specifically Common Chickweed, Stellaria media. The little hint that Miz Flora uses to tell is on the lower leaves.

Common Chickweed

If they have a small stem, it’s Common Chickweed. Otherwise, it might be Mouse-ear Chickweed and you need to take a closer took at the petals.  Don’t make me recite those details! To this squirrel, chickweed is close enough. I mean, why would a squirrel get that close to the ground if he wasn’t digging an acorn? But Miz Flora won’t hear of anything plant-related going out on the blog mis-identified.

Have a good evening and we’ll be back with you tomorrow for another installation of the Blogging A to Z Challenge!

K is for Kousa Dogwood

Kousa Dogwood

Miz Flora, our neighborhood botanist,  has mixed feelings about the  Kousa Dogwood. It isn’t a native plant to North America, but it has been adopted as a common substitute for the Flowering Dogwood in neighborhoods. That’s because so many of our native dogwoods have died from anthracnose. We all feel bad so many of the trees have disappeared.

Kousa Dogwood

The flower looks almost the same as a dogwood’s, Miz Flora says, just pointy on the petal tips, and it blooms later.

Kousa Dogwood

But it’s those nasty red fruits that don’t taste good to any wildlife but wasps that Miz Flora hates. Her tail twitches to think about it. “A body can’t have a decent run under them without getting buzzed.”

I is for Ice on Thirsty Thursday

Hello folks,

Ol’ Wally here with your regular water column, combined with a Blogging Challenge letter: I is for Ice.

ice in creek

We’re getting some warm weather here in Virginia, but that’s not the case everywhere. If you hail (pun intended there) from one of the colder parts, be sure to keep some liquid water out for wildlife. You humans might think the dead of winter is hard on us squirrels, but the unpredictable changes of spring are just as bad.

Thank you much!

H is for Hummingbird Moth

It’s a little early for the Butterfly Bush flowers this nectar feeder is sipping from, but we wanted to give you fair notice to check out those nectar feeders this summer. Some are not as they appear.

Hummingbird Moth feeding on Butterfly Bush

This moth acts like a hummingbird, darting from flower to flower. We squirrels think he’s faking out birds that might eat him, but leave a hummingbird alone.

G is Ginger

Wild Ginger, that is, not the ginger humans use for cooking. (And we squirrels know about this because everyone asks!)

Wild Ginger

Wild Ginger, Asarum canadense, is a fabulous spring wildflower, with heart-shaped leaves that are slightly fuzzy. The flowers are hidden, so get down on your bees’ knees and take a look under the leaves.

Mystery #53

They sit on the ground and are pollinated by beetles.

F is for Flamingos on Motionless Monday

Hey There!

It’s Motionless Monday. If you are new to reading The Squirrel Nutwork, Monday is when I, Hickory Squirrel, feature a wildlife statue we’ve spotted in some human’s garden. It seems they can’t get enough of us!

flamingos flocking to water

Today’s flamingos are courtesy of Coney, our Colorado Field Correspondent. He sent us this photo the fall he first started reporting for The Squirrel Nutwork, so yes, this is before the flood washed away this beautiful spot along James Creek. And the flamingos, too. :(

Don’t forget, F is also for Facebook Friends. We have a page. Come like us at: https://www.facebook.com/TheSquirrelNutwork  Thanks!

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there,

If you are new to the Blogging A to Z Challenge, please note that there is no alphabet letter assigned to Sundays. Sunday, we got off for good behavior. However…

Two years ago when Nutmeg undertook the Challenge, I, Hickory Squirrel came up with a brilliant idea for a Sunday column. IMHO, the Sunday ‘One of Natures Mysteries to Solve’ column has been one of our most popular. It works like this: I post a nature photo and ask our readers what it is. Late in the day (sometimes MUCH later in the day) I post the answer.

Here we go. What animal made this track?

Mystery #

This photo comes with a hint: Coney sent it to me. Not sure who Coney is? See Thursday’s blog post, C day!

Can’t see it well enough? Here’s a close up of the log, but please note there is another print in front of the log.

Mystery # 84_2

Give me your best guesses and I’ll be back later with your answer.

~~~

Hey, we did have a correct guess today! These prints were made by a rabbit, or more correctly, a snowshoe hare. It is hard to tell from the photo, but the back feet are about 5 inches long. The leap from the log to the snow is about 6 feet! Coney said the funny ting about these prints, is there are prints leading up to the log, but only the one set after the log. From his high perch, Coney couldn’t see another print, just clean, untouched snow.

Thanks for visiting today!