Friday, April 17, 2015

What's Blooming at Turkey Run?

If you do nothing else this weekend, please, PLEASE go see the bluebells in your favorite river valley. They should be stunning. Last Sunday they were just opening up at Turkey Run, and Wednesday they were very close to peak on the other side of the Potomac (around Lock 7 on the C&O Canal).

And there's so much else going on out there. I've finally gone through the pictures we took from both walks. Here are some highlights:

twinleaf, jeffersonia diphylla
Twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla) and spring beauty (Claytonia virginica)
windflower, anemone canadensis
Windflower (Anemone canadensis)
Cutleaf toothwort (Cardamine concatenata)
Dutchman's breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)
Toadshade trillium (Trillium sessile)
blue cohosh, caulophyllum thalictroides
Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)
trout lily, erythronium americanum
Trout lily (Erythronium americanum) -- there are HUGE patches near where Dead Run crosses the trail from Turkey Run
squirrel corn, dicentra canadensis
Squirrel Corn (Dicentra canadensis)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Woodpeckers of Washington DC

Last week we were hearing a Northern Flicker drumming on our neighbor's vent pipe several times a day. This weekend a red-bellied woodpecker started in on our chimney cap. They're not stupidly looking for insects in metal objects; they just want to make some noise. It's that time of year -- and what better way to advertise your woodpecking prowess than by pecking as loud and fast as you can? (And boy, does our chimney make a good speaker system!)

In fact, it was a six-woodpecker weekend. We regularly get downy and hairy woodpeckers at our awesome peanut feeder. And we saw a sapsucker and a pileated in Rock Creek Park on Saturday. So I thought it would be fun to put together this little guide.

With a little practice you can also tell most woodpeckers apart by their calls, or even by the speed of their drumming. (The exception is downy and hairy woodpeckers, which sound exactly the same to me.)

Woodpecker Calls Drums
Downy Woodpecker
Picoides pubescens
Hairy Woodpecker
Picoides villosus
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Sphyrapicus varius
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Melanerpes carolinus
Red-headed Woodpecker
Melanerpes erythrocephalus
Northern Flicker
Colaptes auratus
Pileated Woodpecker
Dryocopus pileatus
All recordings copyright 2015 Cornell University and found in their wonderful Macaulay Library.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

What's Blooming at Boundary Bridge?

What a beautiful afternoon.  We didn't get out for too long, but the bloodroots made my day.

Spring beauty (Claytonia virginica). See our post on spring beauty here.

Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) -- not blooming but I love the shoots.

Skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) -- the flowers are almost done.
See our post on skunk cabbage here.

Violet (Viola sp.)

Early saxifrage (Micranthes virginiensis).

Lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) -- pretty but non-native and horribly, horribly invasive.

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis). See our post on bloodroot here.