Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday: Orchids, Viburnum, and Phlox Plus Birds


The past week has been a little chilly with the past two days with heavy rain. Still, the native wildflowers  lining our driveway cheer me up.  

Forest Phlox (Phlox divaricata) plants are on the forest floor under the red bud trees.

 This shrub is some type of Viburnum I believe but if anyone knows what it is, let me know. It grows about 12 feet high.

At the base of this very large red oak tree grow Christmas ferns and Solomon's Seal (not blooming yet).  This slope faces north so a couple of friends and I decided to look for morel mushrooms last Satuday.  We did not have any luck but found something I was more excited about....

The Showy Orchis (Orchis spectabilis L.) flowers were all over the slope, at least a dozen specimens.  In previous years, I had found only two of these beutiful orchids and right near the driveway.  Two years ago, I had cleared some of the vast multi-flora bushes on the steep slope  and that's where we found most of the orchids.   I already started clearing out some more to climb most easily to these two that were the largest of those that we found (about 8 inches tall).

Bird Sightings

Spring means many birds returning.  Songs of wood thrushes and ovenbirds fill the woods while the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak and Indigo Bunting visit my feeders for a few days.   I saw a Hooded Warbler fly close to the feeders.  Also, several nights we have woken up to the call of the Barred Owl.

But the most interesting sighting wasn't mine but from a wildlife camera I had set up in the little waterfall that runs in the cove next to the driveway.
Here's the photo with the bird in the background ...

and a crop of the photo which shows a Scarlet Tanager taking advantage of the temporary waterfall (it's usually dry by summer).  I still find it hard to believe it flies down to South America and back every year.

Finally I couldn't leave without showing this photo of the nest a Carolina Wren built in our old newpaper box.  I don't think it is the best place because of the traffic and road dust but maybe she knows best.

I just signed up for Sunday only delivery and iPad replica of our newspaper because our carrier had to drive 4 miles out of her way to deliver the paper for us.  So I guess I don't have the incentive to walk down our 1/3 mile driveway, unless of course I want to see wildlife and wildflowers!