Tuesday, May 3, 2011

More forest offerings, spring 2011 (almost everything up to late April)

After these there’s still a few more installments coming, of things that deserve their own posts, before I’m current. In the meantime here’s even more of the late leftovers. I can’t help it if there’s so much going on out there!

Here’s this year’s Virginia bluebell buds:
Virginia bluebell
I tell you, I can’t stand it. The buds are this other-worldly opal/purple color, in that great unexpected shape, and then the flowers open very nonchalantly in a completely different color. But it’s the bud shapes that really get me.

Here’s some Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis). First time I’ve seen it. Then, of course, I started to see it everywhere.
Goldenseal (2)

Oh, and check this out:
Blooming even before the leaves are unfurled!

Here is a Gray Tree frog (Hyla versicolor).
Gray tree frog
Or it could be Cope’s Gray tree frog, H. chrysoscelis, but you can’t tell them apart in the field (well, their calls are a little different), but H. versicolor has an extra set of chromosomes! So they sometimes call it Tetraploid Tree frog! But never mind that, they can camouflage themselves, like chameleons (but slower)! I’d like to see that, but I think I was pretty lucky to get this close at all.

From a little distance I thought it was a lump of woody polypore or something, on a dead tree. I walked up to see it and it was a frog instead. I actually got this close (this isn’t a zoom shot), through sneaking.
He finally broke, and jumped away, which is when I discovered the yellow on his hind legs:
gray tree frog yellow foot
Yet another thing I had no idea about.

Here’s a tiny little snake I also sneaked up on:
Tiny snake

No, I mean tiny, he was barely as thick as a pencil--

tiny snake with finger
Storeria dekayi
He saw me first, and started to go away (made noise in leaves, gave himself away) but then slowed and stopped, so I began my sneaking. I don’t know why he let me get this close.
Its common name is "brown snake." Just "brown snake." Or "Midland brown snake," or "Dekay's brown snake." They don't get much longer than 12", and they eat mostly worms, and slugs, snails and soft-bodied insects. I know from his round pupils that he is not venomous (at least, that rule works in Missouri, barring someone's venomous pet snake having escaped). Here I confess that I did not know until recently that there are several tiny Missouri snakes, just because they're small doesn't mean they're babies.

One last thing. I keep finding may apples that have grown through a hole in a dead leaf as they emerge in spring, and they get pretty tall with this leaf stuck around them:
mayapple in leaf

And yes, of course I free them by taking the leaf off, but not before I take a look at this:

mayapple top

 Cameras with macro-settings are the best thing in the whole world.


  1. Cool post! Especially of the may apple!

  2. Wonderful post! I always thought the treefrogs with the whitish box under each eye were bird-voiced treefrogs. The ones I'm referring to also have sulfur yellow in the bends of their legs. I discovered this when they climb the glass on my livingroom window. Cool treefrogs either way!
    I'm in western Kentucky, so it's likely the same frog.