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30 Apr

keywords: amphibians, vernal pools, trees, sedges, flowers

A vernal pool in plena ver... err, I mean in full springtime glory - full of water and home to ample amphibian eggs.

A male Green Frog (note that the ear drum - that round area behind the eye - is bigger than the eye itself) hanging out by the pool. Green Frogs don't usually reproduce in vernal pools because they are tadpoles often need to overwinter, something they can't do in a pool that dries up. We didn't find any year-old Green Frog tadpoles in these waters.

The Red Efts were all about on this wet day. Their bright orange seems to be a warning for potential predators: they pack poisons in their skin. Probably not chemicals that would kill most predators, but enough to give them a distasteful mouthful.

This little American Toad was near the pond. Unfortunately, for some reason, it was blind in one eye.

Early Saxifrage is in full bloom amongst the rocks.

And Dutchman's Britches with their finely dissected leaves are in their glory.

Round-lobed Hepaticas are a spring flower of rocky hillsides.

Rue Anemone seems to favor drier slopes, rather than rich bottomlands.

The Purple Trillium are on the moister grounds.

and the Trout Lily has certainly arrived.

None of the spring flowers like wet feet as much as the Marsh Marigold.

Amongst the woody plants, the Ash are almost in flower. These are the soon-to-burst male flowers. Female flowers would not be be found on the same tree.

Blueberry are starting to flower. These buds are still somewhat tentative. I did find open flowers elsewhere, but the rain was so hard at that point that I didn't dig out the camera.

Musclewood (Carpinus) is one of the wind-pollinated plants that, suitably enough given our breezes, is now flowering. The catkins are the male, pollen-bearing flowers.

On the same tree, one can also find the female flowers with their hot-pink tips.

The Hop-Hornbeam (Ostraya) seems to follow some of the same schedule and approach - these are the male catkins.

The Hop Hornbeam female flower mirrors the shape of the Musclewood, but lacks the pink flair.Sweet Fern, an aromatic woody plant that is not truly a fern, repeats the catkin and pink pistels pattern.

White Birch catkins are getting ready to open.

And, if one turned away from the twig tips for a second, the Valley is laid out in its cloudy, but green springness.

Looking down might reveal that hot pink again, this time in the form of a sprouting Red Oak acorn. This is not a seed from this year - it is an acorn that fell last autumn and, as is apparently Red Oak's habit, overwintered before sprouting,

Pussy Willow is well on its way towards seed production.

And Elm is already there!

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Posted by on April 30, 2011 in Nature

 

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