All posts by Josh

Quiz #4: Bird

Who is the feathered fellow in this fuzzy photo? (Photo taken 4/26/12 in Plainville, MA)

Mystery bird -- photo taken 4/26/12 in Plainville, MA

A. Yellow Warbler

B. Yellow-rumped Warbler

C. Common Yellowthroat

D. Wilson's Warbler

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D, C, and B are… incorrect.  None of these birds have red streaks on their chests.

A is… CORRECT!  The bird is a Yellow Warbler. The chest streaks indicate that this is a male. I located him singing loudly near the brushy edge of a pond. To my ear, his song sounds like "Sweet, sweet, sweet, I’m so sweet". As a commenter noted, Yellow Warblers are fairly common near water from May through August (or later).

Quiz #3: Amphibian

Name this partially hidden amphibian who I photographed near Boston, MA.

Photo of Quiz #3: Amphibian

A. Green Frog

B. American Bullfrog

C. Pickerel Frog

D. Northern Leopard Frog

When you are ready, scroll down for the answer…

A is… incorrect.  Green Frogs (Lithobates clamitans) have prominent dorsolateral ridges, but lack spots.

B is… incorrect.  American Bullfrogs (L. catesbeianus) lack spots and long dorsolateral ridges.

C is… incorrect.  Pickerel Frogs (L. palustris) tend to have two rows of squared-off spots on their backs, and their background body color is brownish, not green.

D is… CORRECT! The Northern Leopard Frog (L. pipiens) has roundish dark spots with light borders. Their background can be similar to Pickerel Frogs, but is more often green.

Foraging Wild Shoots: Japanese Knotweed

Photo of Japanese Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is another wild edible plant ripe for picking.  I gather young shoots when they are about a foot tall.  I act fast when I find this rapidly growing plant emerging -- stalks can grow several feet in just a few weeks!  This past week, I picked and froze 5 quarts of young shoots.  Cooked until soft and mushy, these shoots can be combined with fruit for a tasty sauce.

Quiz #2: Plant

If you thought the first quiz was tricky, here's one that I hope is a little easier.  Name the following plant, with newly emerging red-tinged leaves with leaflets of three.  (Photo taken 4/16/12 in Plainville, MA)

A. Virginia-creeper

B. Poison-ivy

C. Boston-ivy

D. Poison-sumac

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A is… incorrect. Virginia-creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is a vine with leaves divided into five leaflets.

B is… CORRECT! This plant — which is worth recognizing at all times of year — is Poison-ivy (Toxicodendron radicans). Here are two more photos:

Poison Ivy Poison Ivy

C is… incorrect. Boston-ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) is a climber with undivided, lobed leaves.

D is… incorrect. Poison-sumac (Toxicodendron vernix) is a shrub or small tree with leaves divided into many more than three leaflets (typically 7-13).

Quiz #1: Tree

Photo of Quiz #1: Tree

What kind of tree produced these beautiful seed-containing fruit?

A. Red Maple

B. White Ash

C. American Elm

D. Northern Red Oak

They aren't fully mature in this photo, but they are nonetheless distinctive. (Photo taken 4/7/12 in Plainville, MA.)

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A is… incorrect. The samara-like schizocarp (the name for the type of fruit) of Red Maple (Acer rubrum) consists of two samaras joined together.

B is… incorrect. The samaras (the name for the type of fruit) of White Ash (Fraxinus americana) are long and narrow.

C is… CORRECT! These samaras (the name for the type of fruit) contain the seeds of American Elm (Ulmus americana). Here’s a photo of the tree with young leaves:
American Elm

D is… incorrect. Acorns are the fruit of Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra).