What’s in the Woods Today? Feb. 5, 2018

Waiting for Spring

by Area Forester Lisa Deaton

This great blue heron, like many of us, seems to be contemplating warmer weather.

big tree heron2

The daffodils in the eastern part of the state are getting ready to bloom.

daffodils

The squirrels are carrying mouthfuls of leaves from the forest floor and adding them to their nests in the trees.  I tried to catch a photo of that, but squirrels move so fast.

The spring peepers were calling in Mathews County after the 70-degree rainy weather on January 23.   The Virginia Herpetelogical Society provides this Frog Calling Schedule to help identify the frogs you might be hearing.  Be sure to narrow the list down by checking the range maps of each species to see which species live in your area.

I encountered these ripe puffball mushrooms in mid-December.  The only thing I can say about them for certain is that this is a lot of puffballs on one log.  They could be Lycoperdon pyriforme.

puff balls for field notes

The spores inside are released through holes in the top of each ball when raindrops fall on them, when hit by wind gusts, or when something steps on them … like ME!  When I was very young, my friends and I jumped on every puffball we could find.  We called them smoke bombs, and finding them was like finding treasure.  Jumping on puffballs ranked second only to splashing in puddles.

puff ball holes close up

Are you ready for Spring?

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