05-08-14 Field Note

Rebecca Durham encounters violets, puzzling scat, lichens, and wetland-associated plants.

Posted on 5/8/2014 by Rebecca Durham

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Crimson buds swell below the browse line (Vaccinium cespitosum).
Early blue violet blooms on sun-warmed slopes (Viola adunca).
Green swaddles the valley, but winter white reigns in the mountains.
Lichens weave intricate communities, layered upon bark.
Brown-eyed sunshine lichen contains vulpinic acid. The toxic compound lends its fluorescence to this vivid forest lichen (Vulpicida canadensis).
This small shallow wetland southeast of Home Pond contains few aquatic plants; sedges and grasses dominate. On its banks, moisture seeking plants emerge from the wet earth. Though not a wetland plant, fragrant bedstraw frequents the moist transition zone from wetland to upland (Galium triflorum, below).
The National Wetland Plant List assigns each species to a wetland category. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fish and Wildlife Service, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service create the list. The presence or absence of wetland plants helps delineate wetland boundaries. This rein orchid near the inlet of Home Pond falls into the status of Facultative Wetland; it usually occurs in wetlands (Platanthera dilatata).
Prickly currant, classified as Facultative, occurs in wetlands and non-wetlands. Despite this ambiguous classification, observation dictates that water is never very far from this currant (Ribes lacustre).
Close inspection of this coyote scat reveals an unlikely item: a deer toe bone. Why would a coyote swallow this large sharp bone?
An eager meadowrue unfurls its leaves laden with buds (Thalictrum occidentale).
Temperature at 7 pm hovers at 72°F. A northwest system sweeps in to cool unseasonably warm air.