Category Archives: Nature Quiz

Quiz #6: Tree

Time to dust off your field guides and identify the following tree.  Here are three photos (taken in Plainville, MA) to help you narrow it down.

Note the leaf shape and arrangement:

Photo of Quiz #6.1: Tree

The bark of a young tree:

Photo of Quiz #6.2: Tree

And finally, the bark of an older tree:

Photo of Quiz #6.3: Tree

Leave your guess in the comments below.  The answer will be added to the Quiz Answers page next week.

Quiz #5: Mammal Tracks

I found these prints near the Ten Mile River in Plainville, MA. Who left them?  (Photo taken 4/24/12)

A. Red Fox

B. Eastern Gray Squirrel

C. Northern Raccoon

D. American Mink

When you are ready, scroll down for the answer…

A, B, and D are… incorrect.

C is… CORRECT!  The tracks belong to a Northern Raccoon (Procyon lotor). The print on the left is from a front foot, while the one on the right is from a hind foot. Both show five digits. The 2×2 walking gait — where pairs of different sized prints (front & hind) alternate every 12″ or so — is common in raccoons and rarely found in other mammals.

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

When you are ready, scroll down for the answer…

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.

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

When you are ready, scroll down for the answer...

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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).