Motionless Monday

Hey there!

Fawn Wildlife Statue

This little fellow is down for a rest, and we at The Squirrel Nutwork are thinking of doing the same.

For the last few winters we’ve taken a little break from our blog when nature slows, because we move a bit slower and sleep more when the weather is colder. Nutmeg, Ol’ Wally and I have a few more things to share with you human readers, but in another week we’ll be closing for the winter.

Have a great day!

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One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Here’s a close up of part of a native plant.

Mystery # 142

That’s the only hint I’m giving for this week’s mystery!

See you later!

~~~

Does this help any?

Common Milkweed Pod

Or this?

Common Milkweed seeds

Our close up is the seeds of a Common Milkweed, lined up in their pod before the wind and weather have lifted them by the fluff and blown them to a new growing location.

Common Milkweed growing on Reston National Golf Course

Monarch butterflies and other insects are lucky enough to have stands of milkweed on the Reston National Golf Course and many other open space meadows in Reston.

Thirsty & Thankful Thursday

Links Pond on Reston National Golf Course

We squirrels are thankful for our little neighborhood family, our readers and of course this beautiful place we call home. And by that we mean both Reston and our Earth!

Happy Thanksgiving to all our human readers!

From Ol’ Wally, Nutmeg, Hickory and Miz Flora

Downy Woodpeckers

Do you humans have your bird feeders up and filled?

Birdfeeder with White-breasted Nuthatch

“Hey, that’s what we like to see!” Hickory flicks his tail.

Yes…let me move farther from my exuberant friend. As I was about to say, we’ve had our first freezes here in northern Virginia, which means fewer insects out…which in turn means some insect-eating birds will be swarming those feeders.

Hickory crowds over again. “Yeah, getting in our way.”

Enough–this is my column! Folks, sorry. I can tell I won’t be able to keep this one to myself.

So… Some birds switch over to eating winter berries–like bluebirds. Other birds will follow the insects and fly south. And a few will get their protein in different ways, like from your feeders. One of the backyards we, uh, frequent, has a lovely suet feeder that gets a lot of attention when those insects die off. This Downy Woodpecker pair turned up this week at the first suet of the season.

Male Downy Woodpecker

They are the smallest woodpecker, barely larger than other feeder birds–like the White-breasted Nuthatch above–and quite recognizable because of the white patch on their backs. The male has a red spot on the back of his head.

Female Downy Woodpecker

And the female is only black and white. These two are often mistaken for the larger Hairy Woodpecker. If you are lucky enough to see it, the tail feathers of the Downy have a faint barring or spotting, whereas on the Hairy the outer feathers are white.

“And their bills are bigger and sharper, too! Stand clear.”

Thanks for that advice, Hickory. I’m sure all the humans now realize how you’ve learned that.

“Oops.”

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Quite a few fruits and berries out there, even in the fall.

Mystery #141

Can you identify this one?

I’ll check back later!

~~~

Sorry to be so late–chillier day here and we wanted to get some more gathering done before a freeze… which Ms. Flora says will improve the flavor of these Hawthorn pomes. Yes, they look like berries to me, too.  To be honest, we’re not really sure about that freeze business.

Hawthorn

See those thorns? And the branches are so tight together, it’s almost impossible to get through them. For good sized squirrel’s like us, anyway. We are just guessing the berries aren’t very good now because the birds have left them alone. They do love them on a winter’s day, especially the cardinals.

Hawthorn

This is not a native tree, but planted in out neighborhood. Commonly they used to be planted as hedgerow trees–because of the close branching–and the ‘pomes’ were gathered by humans for jellies and such.

Please note, we have to say we are not recommending you humans go out and try them based on our say-so. Always check potential with reliable sources, not the word of a squirrel.