Thirsty Thursday

Folks, this is Ol’ Wally here with you today. This old squirrel is feeling a mite better because the heat in the Washington D.C. area isn’t as bad this week. However, we’re getting less rain, and that means yes, it really is Thirsty Thursday.

 

Do your wild friends a kindness and set out a dish of water.

High or low, or both. Different critters have different feelings of comfort approaching these things. It doesn’t even need to be fancy!

It you see a neighborhood tree with wilted leaves, set a sprinkler on it.

No reason not to share the resources with every being!

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We survived!

The Blogging From A to Z Challenge has issued a survivor badge for completing the April challenge of posting blogs related to all 26 letters of the alphabet! We hope to pull together a reflections post, but in the meantime, admire our colorful new badge, created by Jeremy @ Hollywood Nuts. Thanks, Jeremy!

survivor-atoz 2016

(We think the A to Z team has outdone themselves this year!)

T is for Towhee

Eastern Towhee female

Ol’ Wally remembers when Towhees were called Rufous-sided Towhees–see the reddish side feathers–but you humans have shortened that to Eastern Towhee.

We see the Towhees when we’re digging in the underbrush looking for acorns we hid. They like thickets and and though the males are most strikingly marked, they’re good at hiding in dense foliage.

Eastern Towhee with red eyes

Females like this one are particularly hard to see with their more brownish coloring. That makes hiding while hatching eggs easy, though doesn’t explain why they have red eyes.

G is for Grape Hyacinths

Grape Hyacinths

Ok, this isn’t a native plant, but it does bloom early in the spring and lasts longer than a tulip. See how the flowers at the bottom are open but the buds at the top aren’t? It’s also pretty hardy–they lasted through the freeze we had earlier this week. Plants like this help out insects by filling in with steady nectar supplies while everything else gets going. Consider how you can provide overlapping blooms in your garden to help wildlife!

D is for Darned-good Drainage Ditch

Sadly, D did not fall on Thursday–for Ol’ Wally’s Thirsty Thursday column–but I gratefully took his advice to post this fabulous D entry for the letter.

drainage ditch made of rock

This type of drainage ditch always gets our votes! It is not concrete, it’s permeable! Permeable is oh-so superior because it allows the water to seep into the soil instead of shooting it off somewhere else. That ‘somewhere else’ usually has too much water and leaves the original spot with too little. Also, all those rocks are a huge benefit. They provide more surfaces to hit so a stream is forced to slow and spread and seep.

C is for Cherry

Ok, folks, I had this all set before we checked the letter schedule for ‘D’ day…and saw Sundays are free! We forgot! (How quickly they forget!) Does anyone else miss that nice calendar desktop A to Z used to have?

So we don’t disappoint all of our regular readers,  you get a bonus C at the bottom. In the meantime, here’s our cherries….Ornamental Weeping Cherry Tree blossoms

Wild Cherry Blossoms

Spring and cherry blossoms. Sigh. Whether planted trees or native, haven’t they been lovely?

 

C is also for Canada Geese wildlife statue on Motionless Monday, a little column in which we squirrels feature wildlife statures because humans can’t seem to get enough of us!

Canada Geese Wildlife Statue

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there,

If you’re new to the Blogging From A to Z Challenge, Sundays are free! Nutmeg forgot, right up until she looked on the calendar to confirm her letter days. The first year she entered the challenge I–Hickory Squirrel, here–filled in for her free days with a column of my own creation. Ever since, The Squirrel Nutwork has run a quiz for fun on Sundays, posting a photo and asking you human readers, what is it?

So here we go! Might be easy for some and hard of others.

DSC00305

Give us a guess in the comments. I’ll be back this evening to reveal the answer!

~~~

We had a correct guess today! These are maple seeds, or samaras. Our guesser wasn’t sure which maple species, but in this case, it’s easy to tell because of the red hue to the seeds. This is from the Red Maple tree.

In our neighborhood we have other species of maple as well, so we leaped around today to check them. Surprisingly, not all of them had samaras–but those trees were not native species, so something else may be going on with them–the Norway Maple and the ornamental Japanese Maples. The one that did is what we thought was a Silver Maple.

maple samaras

The samaras are much larger and they flare out, which according to our field guide, isn’t the shape they should have. You can bet we’ll be taking another look at that tree’s leaves.

If any of our readers have another type of maple and want to send us photos of the seeds–preferably with the tree identified!–we’d love to see and post them.

 

A is for Acorns on Another Awesome April with the Blogging From A to Z Challenge!

We squirrels at The Squirrel Nutwork love our A to Z Challenge. This year marks our 5th in the challenge and the start of our 5th year blogging. We have a small but faithful following of mostly–we think–human readers. Our 200th follower just joined us yesterday! Welcome BloominBootiful! She describes her blog as ‘A girl and her garden’ which is a great match for us, ‘connecting to nature in suburban D. C.’

Yes, we write about nature and science and people and how we all get along. Thus, our A to Z topics are all about nature, too. What we find interesting in our little corner of Northern Virginia.

A

Every year we start our April Blogging Challenge with the same letter, ‘A’ and the same item, Acorns.

Black Oak Acorns

Acorns, like these Black Oak acorns, are very important to squirrels around the world, because we eat them. A lot of them! People sometimes prepare acorns and eat them, too. We are not advising you humans try this unless you look up how to prepare the acorns just right for you, so just trust us, acorns are a healthy food for squirrels.gathering acorns

If you look back to our April 1, 2012 post on A is for Acorns we had a lot to say about acorns and oak trees. Just click on over so we don’t need to repeat it.

Welcome to another season with four squirrels, and thank you for joining us!