To all those interested in the natural world. Please add your sightings.

In the woods we return to reason and faith-Emerson


Sunday, July 31, 2011

This Painted Turtle seemed somewhat disgruntled over being moved out of Roue 5 traffic, while nearby a Primrose Moth serenely waited out the day on one of its host plants: Evening Primrose.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Today the brownish pea-like flower clusters of Groundnut draped riverside thickets. Along the roadside, clusters of tiny greenish flowers cupped by leaf-like bracts nestled in the leaf axils of Three-seeded Mercury.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Shining (AKA Dwarf) Sumac was in flower today. Apparently I was the second to learn of this development!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

In a roadside marsh, Hairy Willow-herb flashed its magenta faces today. As I appreciated one blossom a large beetle stayed busy and oblivious in a second.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

7.27.11 Velvet-leaf's huge, bunny-ear-soft leaves drape gracefully, providing an umbrella over the buttercup-yellow blossom, but it's worth the effort to push them aside to view what's hiding.

A few Triphora (Three-bird Orchids) were unfolding their pallid wings today. Saprophytic Spotted Coralroots could also be found in flower.
In my kitchen garden this Snowberry Clearwing moth visited the phlox, seemingly obliious to my attempts at photography.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Common Burdock and Bull Thistle dotted the roadsides this morning. John

Monday, July 25, 2011

The tiny, purple-spotted white flowers of catnip made their appearance in my field this morning. And along the river Canadian Burnet waved densely packed flower spikes with every little breeze.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The nearly leafless, wirey stems of Orange Grass give no focal point for a camera without an artificial backdrop. Panicled Tick-Trefoil, on the other hand, seems to pose for its portrait.
The water scour tree roots just seemed too picturesque not to share!

Friday, July 22, 2011

7.22.11 I'm always gratified when I find a good reason not to keep a weed-free garden; today I found three reasons! The Night-flowering Catchfly which left my fingers feeling very sticky after handling it; the Moth Mullein whose nickel-sized blossoms last but a day; and a pink Hemp-Nettle. Hemp-Nettle has white or pink blossoms, both with purple markings, protrusions from the lower petal that look like fangs, and hairy spikes on the upper petal. I don't know the name of the insect on the Hemp-Nettle, but it seemed more interested in the plant than its blossoms.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Turk's-ca Lily turns its bold, freckled, red-orange face earthward and yet can't hide its brazen glow.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

7.20.11 A few lemon-yellow Pale Touch-Me-Nots caught my eye in a wet, shady roadside today. Mary Holland, Vermont author of Naturally Curious, notes that 'the nectar of jewelweed is 40% sugar; the whole plant provides nourishment for deer and, during dry spells, black bears.'

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

7.19.11 Old familiar faces take on a new look when you get nose-to-nose. Hemp-Nettle and Helleborine are two such flowers. I'm amazed that there are flowers that look so robust in mid-summer heat when I'm wilting.

A fairly unproductive search for wildflowers along Dummerston Landing road turned up well in excess of 100 of these little land snails (perhaps Amber snails - Succinea Putris).
Out in the great wild world you won't always see what you expect to see ... but if you stay alert you will always see something of interest.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Thunder was rumbling and light was fast fading by the time I made it to the site of these little Spotted Wintergreen this morning. If you saw the pictures of Pipsissewa which were posted recently, you will notice the similarity of these members of the Wintergreen family.

Common polypody, the underside of whose fertile frond is pictured at upper left, were growing in abundance in a thin layer of moss over a granite boulder. To contrast, is a fertile frond of an Ebony Spleenwort which was growing in rocky woods. The shape and placement of the sori (capsules that hold spores) on the underside of the blade are important to identification of ferns.

Between rain showers this morning I got out into the world long enough to find (and take a few rather fuzzy pictures of) Water -plantain. Water -plantain has a basal rosette of 6 - 14" long stalked oval leaves. Its tiny 3 petaled flowers are "on a 3' tall, diffuse terminal panicle" to quote the field guide. To me they looked about as insubstantial and airy as mature asparagus plants. Water-plantains grow in standing water or mud.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

7.17.11 More than a half-dozen Great Spangled Fritillaries looped around and around my garden this afternoon, sampling everything in bloom; they seemed to favor the echinaceas without singling out any one variety.

Today the diminutive plant called Centaury touched the roadsides with its tiny pink flowers, White Vervain waved sparse wands chest high in the thickets, and gracing one edge of a dusty dirt road Wild Sensitive plant had small yellow flowers under lacy leaves.

Friday, July 15, 2011

today on a gravel bar in the middle of the West River, Spotted Knapweed grew rooted between the cobbles.
And the sun-bleached remains of this crayfish were found where it stranded, folded double over a willow twig high above the water by one of the recent freshets.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Today Sand Spurrey flecked lawns with tiny pink flowers, Rough Hedgeweed graced the ditches and Common Tansy held up its galaxies of yellow disks.

7.13.11 The Pale St. Johnswort (Hypericum ellipticum) is in bloom in a wet ditch; its plume of stamens above the butter- yellow petals helps to attract pollinators.

I discovered this newly-open Spotted touch-me-not (Jewelweed) yesterday. The scientific name, Impatiens capensis, was published by Meerburgh in 1775 who thought it had been introduced into Europe from the Cape of Good Hope. Although he was in error, this name stands because it was the first to be published. (from "The Secrets of Wildflowers" by Jack Sanders).

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

This morning Hedge Bindweed blossoms glistened palely among the tall grasses and weeds. Agrimony glowed in the woodlands. And Dogbane Beetles bathed in liquid greens and reds hung jewel-like from their host plants.

A few flowers have started to color the narrow spikes of Blue Vervain, decorating a nearby ditch.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Today, Musk Mallow brightened the roadside and White Turtlehead raised itself over the rank growth in a nearby wet area.

Friday, July 8, 2011

7.07.11 The Purple (or Field) Milkwort changes its appearance as the blossom matures. The petals curled up in the center continue to open until the blossom resembles the shape of a pine cone. It's beautiful at every stage.

This morning I crossed paths with another woods rambler - a snappy dresser bent on his own destination, moving at his own pace.