If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Eat ‘Em

Last summer I pulled up a bunch of Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) that has invaded the edges of my property with a vengeance. It is rather easy to pull the entire plant, roots and all. But what I didn’t realize was that I was also pulling up its 50-year seed bank and that one plantContinue reading “If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Eat ‘Em”

Marsh Marigold, or Perhaps Not?

I look forward each year to looking along streams to find one of my favorite spring wildflowers soon to be in bloom—Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris). But it has an exotic cousin, a look-alike that threatens its existence and that of other native spring ephemerals such as Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum) and Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica).Continue reading “Marsh Marigold, or Perhaps Not?”

A Powerful Pollinator

Last fall I planted snowdrops (Galanthus spp.) and crocus (Crocus spp.) to have very early blooms available for the first pollinators that hatch in the spring. Even though these are not native, they do provide early nectar and pollen sources for native solitary bees. This would be before native plants such as Pussy Willow (SalixContinue reading “A Powerful Pollinator”

Live Long and Prosper

During the brief interlude of spring-like weather we had recently, even with patches of snow still on the ground, I spotted a butterfly flitting through the forest. It was a Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa), named long ago for its dark-brownish black wings colored like the cloak of a person in mourning. How could this butterflyContinue reading “Live Long and Prosper”

Behold the Timberdoodle

Labrador Twister. Bogsucker. Mudsnipe. Hokumpoke. Timberdoodle. These are just some of the colorful names for the American Woodcock (Scolopax minor), a robin-sized, inland shorebird whose courtship displays, unknown to most of us, are an amazing spring phenomenon. It’s now time to listen for them. Newly arrived from its wintering grounds in the southern United States,Continue reading “Behold the Timberdoodle”

In the Dead of Winter, A Flash of Fragrance

When leading nature walks in winter, I like to point out that nature is not dead, only resting and waiting for the rebirth of spring. Even now, there are plenty of things to see and do in the winter woods. On your next outdoor walk, try looking for signs of herbivores. White-tailed Deer (Odochoileus virginianus)Continue reading “In the Dead of Winter, A Flash of Fragrance”