Your bizarre assortment of human yard decorations have increased! Will this ever end?
Have a great week!
It’s fall, how about a leaf mystery?
We’ll check in later!
The Black Tupelo, Nyssa sylvatica, always turns a beautiful color in our woods–though it might be reds to purples as you see here, or yellows and oranges.
Sometimes known as Black Gum or Blackgum, this native tree blooms in late spring and produces a berry that is high in energy for birds. You humans hardly ever see them because they are so small and get eaten very quickly.
The name ‘tupelo’ comes from the Native American Creek words “ito” for tree and “opilwa” for swamp. We don’t have many swampy areas where we live, so haven’t taken note of that. Maybe if they do live in wetter areas, the tree grows larger. Here in Northern Virginia, the Black Tupelo is a smaller, slow growing tree.
That’s one, in the center foreground, with the yellowish leaves, right beside the trunk of a mature Black Tupelo tree. Very pretty, and one we’d sure recommend you humans look at if you are picking out something native and helpful for wildlife!
We have a garden resident who has slowed down in the cool weather.
Many of you probably recognize this fellow, but if you’re a little hazy on your identification, throw a guess into the comments section.
I’ll be back later with the correct answer.
Yes, we had a correct guess today! The Eastern Garter Snake is very common in our suburban neighborhoods, but we wish more appreciated! This little snake is harmless and does so much to keep down mice, voles and even slugs. We won’t mention that the larger ones sometimes try to get into squirrel and chipmunk nests. Darn things.
This is an easy snake to recognize because it has two stripes running the length of its body. These white to yellow stripes make it hard for an enemy to tell the garter snake is moving, and–bam!–it’s gone before you know it!. The body color on garter snakes is splotchy and ranges from tan to brown to green. This makes them harder to see in the dappled sunlight on grass, mulch or the forest floor. They can swim and like to to catch fish and frogs. They can climb trees and like to eat baby birds.
No wonder this snake is so common–it eats about anything!
This morning we happened by those Passion Flower plants again and look what we saw!
The Monarch was close to emerging. We got a few acorns hunted down and by the time we came back, the butterfly had broken out of her chrysalis.
She hung there while her wings expanded. Look at the fluid that dripped off of her.
Another time we ran by, she had moved into the open and was spreading her wings.
That’s how we knew this was a girl–no spots on her hind wings.
It’s a great feeling to see one be able to succeed at making it to the butterfly stage!