Diario del proyecto The Preserve at Bull Run Mountains

18 de marzo de 2021

Observation Highlight of the Week: Anaxyrus americanus americanus

Observational Highlight #13: Anaxyrus americanus americanus (Eastern American Toad)
Virginia Outdoors Foundation - Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve



© Joe Villari, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC)


Hello everyone and happy daylight savings time!

Spring is fast approaching with late winter rains bringing about the movement of so many of our amphibian friends and beckoning the return and farewell of so many of our favorite backyard birds. This week's observational highlight from The Preserve comes to us from the preserve manager and passionate naturalist @jvillari. As you might have gathered from the array of warts, resting grump-face, and the impressively zen meditative posture, we are highlighting the humble Eastern American Toad! Toads are one of the most emblematic amphibian species within western (English) folklore and idioms: ugly as a toad, biggest toad in the puddle. There is also the myth that I believed as a child that touching toads could give you warts - oh no! Thank goodness that today it wasn't true or I wouldn't be able to see my hands. While these sayings might not mean much on their own, the fact that so many of us can easily identify a toad without much prior experience signifies their value within not only our ecosystem but our culture as well.

But let's dig in! the American toad is a ubiquitous species in our state and is the most widely distributed member of Bufonidae in North America. This wide distribution is a testament to the ability of the toad to tolerate the multitude of environments throughout the eastern United States and Canada. Typically associated with hardwood and pine-hemlock forests, the eastern toad can adapt to live in open fields, pastures, and even urban environments as long as leaf litter (or other hiding spaces), borrowable soils (loam/sand), and stable moist habitats are available. The ever-present issue of food is another factor, though the American toad is not a very picky eater. Their diet can include crickets, slugs, earthworms, spiders, or any other small critter it can fit in its mouth.

Soon enough, the toad breeding season will bring about an almost ear-piercing chorus of male toads singing their hearts out to attract the much larger, and quiet females. The call of the male is described as a long, high pitched bur-r-r-r-r- that can last from 6-30 seconds. You can listen to an example of this distinct call of the wild here, on the Virginia Herpetological Society's website (an amazing resource and whose membership includes yours truly). Following a rigorous courtship, which includes the incredible application of amplexus, the duel strings of potentially 4000-8000 eggs are deposited in shallow vernal pools or even waterfilled potholes (which I witnessed last year). The eggs may hatch in as short as four days but may take as long as two weeks. The small black tadpoles that hatch consumes algae and mature into toadlets after about two months. Remarkably, the longest living recorded captive toad lived to be 36 years old. This longevity is not however typical of wild toads which only live a few years at most.

As the end of this month marks the beginning of the American toads breeding season, please show extra care when moving about the public stream trails. If you are lucky enough to come across any of our resident croakers, please share your observation here on iNaturalist!


ABOUT #BullRunMountainsNaturalPreserve
The Bull Run Mountains are the easternmost mountains in Virginia. Virginia Outdoors Foundation - Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve is approximately 2,350 acres that serve as a living laboratory that sits in the backyard of our nation’s capital. The preserve contains 10 different plant community types and a plethora of regionally uncommon and threatened plant and animal species. In 2002, this land was dedicated by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation as a natural area preserve to protect the unique ecosystems found here. As the owner and manager of the preserve, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation is committed to protecting the special ecosystem found here and sharing it with the public through managed access.

Follow us on Social Media!
Instagram: @bullrunmountains
Facebook: Virginia Outdoors Foundation (Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve)
Our website: VOF RESERVES: Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve
Meetup Events: Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve Guided Hikes Group

Anotado en marzo 18, jueves 20:55 por mjwcarr mjwcarr | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

11 de marzo de 2021

Observation Highlight of the Week: Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens

Observational Highlight #12: Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens (Red-spotted Newt)
Virginia Outdoors Foundation - Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve



© Jonathan Kolby, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC-ND) [left; juvenile red "eft"]; © Michael J. W. Carr, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC) [right; adult]


Happy Thursday everyone!

What a wonderful time to start our delve into the ectothermic, skin-breathing realm of Amphibia at The Preserve! If you haven't ventured out during the cool rains of mid-to-late winter, you might have missed the on-going migration of salamanders and frogs to vernal pools occurring in our area. The marbled salamanders, spotted salamanders, and wood frogs are just a few of the stars of this cold-weather dash to find the best spots for egg-laying. While many may be surprised to learn that such delicate creatures can tolerate the harsh winter weather (even moving over snow and ice!), we will have to discuss them further in coming highlights. This week we will delve into our most commonly observed amphibian species (but definitely not the least interesting) and highlight the observations of the Red-spotted Newt, which comes to us from @jonathan_kolby and @mjwcarr. You might have noticed that the highlight is, for two weeks in a row, is another twofer! However, the two individuals highlighted in this post belong to the same species at different points in their life history.

While being one most commonly observed amphibian on the preserve, the red-spotted newt is also one of the most interesting creatures living in our area. Newts, as they are commonly referred to, represent the Subfamily Pleurodelinae, a branch of the Family Salamandridae which includes true salamanders and newts. Newts exhibit a metamorphose throughout their life history similar to other amphibians like frogs. However, these life stages are a bit mixed up from what we may be familiar with. Per the norm, the red-spotted newt begins its existence hatching from an egg into an aquatic larva. Following this, the red-spotted newt develops into a terrestrial "red eft", or juvenile stage where the bright red, four-legged teen wanders the forest floor with a slightly rough, dry skin. Once maturing (which can take two to three years - Wow!), the red-spotted newt takes a wild turn from the typical route of metamorphosis exhibited in other groups of Amphibia, by returning to the water to again becoming fully aquatic. In this mature "adult" form the red-spotted newt changes from a bright red to a dull olive, while retaining the characteristic red spots.

The amazing life journey of the red-spotted salamander can last as long as 15 years in the wild, so be sure to remember the names of the newt friends you make along the public trails of the preserve - you might come across them again! This impressive life span is also a reason why preserving our natural community resources is so important for our native species. Amphibians, including our highlighted species, are incredibly sensitive to pollution, habitat degradation, and human activities. When utilizing The Preserves trails, please practice Leave No Trace principles and continue environmentally safe and aware practices in our own backyards.

Amphibian species around the world, including here in our own backyard, are facing tremendous pressure from human-induced actions, including climate change and the spread of chytrid fungus (which we will cover more in coming highlights). If you would like to learn more about how you can support the conservation of amphibian species, follow our highlighted observer Jonathan Kolby who is a National Geographic Explorer & Science Communicator currently working to stop the extinction of Amphibians.


ABOUT #BullRunMountainsNaturalPreserve
The Bull Run Mountains are the easternmost mountains in Virginia. Virginia Outdoors Foundation - Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve is approximately 2,350 acres that serve as a living laboratory that sits in the backyard of our nation’s capital. The preserve contains 10 different plant community types and a plethora of regionally uncommon and threatened plant and animal species. In 2002, this land was dedicated by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation as a natural area preserve to protect the unique ecosystems found here. As the owner and manager of the preserve, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation is committed to protecting the special ecosystem found here and sharing it with the public through managed access.

Follow us on Social Media!
Instagram: @bullrunmountains
Facebook: Virginia Outdoors Foundation (Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve)
Our website: VOF RESERVES: Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve
Meetup Events: Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve Guided Hikes Group

Anotado en marzo 11, jueves 16:33 por mjwcarr mjwcarr | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

03 de marzo de 2021

Observational Highlight of the Week: Hylocichla & Seiurus

Observational Highlight #11: Seiurus aurocapilla (Ovenbird) & Hylocichla mustelina (Wood Thrush)
Virginia Outdoors Foundation - Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve



© Janis Stone, all rights reserved (Both images used with permission)


Hello again everyone!

This week's observational highlight will be a two-for-one(!) given the missed opportunity for a weekly highlight last week. This time around, our stars will be the Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) and Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) which were both beautifully captured by Preserve friend and volunteer @janisstone ! The quality of these observations just illustrates the wonderful wildlife viewing opportunities that are available at The Preserve. Although taken a few years back, I can say with confidence that the birds have not decided to stop visiting our community natural area preserve (I was able to spot a black-and-white warbler in the South Section parking area last year!). With the spring migration approaching I hope those planning to visit The Preserve will keep their eyes and ears open to the plethora of bird species that regular our trails. Additionally, audio recordings are a viable candidate for upload to iNaturalist!

But let's dig in shall we?

Both of our highlighted feather friends are migratory birds that will soon be arriving from Central America and the Caribbean. While superficially, there are many physical similarities between the two species, they each belong to different taxonomic families. The wood thrush is, well, a member of the thrush family Turdidea, which includes the Hermit Thrush, American Robin, and Eastern Bluebird. The Ovenbird, however, is a member of the New World Warbler family Parulidae, which includes the prothonotary warbler, Northern Waterthrush, and Hooded Warbler. Now being in different families in the bird world is a pretty big difference in relation, despite how similar both organisms look compared to each other.

Unless you find yourself within eyeshot of an individual foraging on the ground for insects, you're more likely to notice them first by their impressive songs. Both species have very distinct songs which can be easy to identify once you've had your own experience with them. The wood thrush's song consists of a loud, flute-clear ee-oh-lay, while the ovenbird's consist of a rapid-fire teacher-teacher-teacher. While the spring and summertime offers a great spectacle of birdsong it can also be overwhelming to those just starting to learn to identify birdsong (I'm still working on my song identification skills myself). Just remember that with many naturalist skills, practice makes perfect and everyone makes mistakes. There is also a wonderful array of bird song quizzes and resources available online for those interesting in diving into the birding hobby. My personal favorite tool to use for double-checking my field identification is BirdNet (it's also free to use!).

I hope this three-part series highlighting bird species on the preserve will inspire you to have an open ear during your next visit. Audio and photographic observations are always encouraged while exploring the trails. Next week with start our next highlight series - Amphibians!


ABOUT #BullRunMountainsNaturalPreserve
The Bull Run Mountains are the easternmost mountains in Virginia. Virginia Outdoors Foundation - Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve is approximately 2,350 acres that serve as a living laboratory that sits in the backyard of our nation’s capital. The preserve contains 10 different plant community types and a plethora of regionally uncommon and threatened plant and animal species. In 2002, this land was dedicated by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation as a natural area preserve to protect the unique ecosystems found here. As the owner and manager of the preserve, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation is committed to protecting the special ecosystem found here and sharing it with the public through managed access.

Follow us on Social Media!
Instagram: @bullrunmountains
Facebook: Virginia Outdoors Foundation (Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve)
Our website: VOF RESERVES: Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve
Meetup Events: Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve Guided Hikes Group

Anotado en marzo 03, miércoles 01:14 por mjwcarr mjwcarr | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

16 de febrero de 2021

Observational Highlight of the Week: Antrostomus vociferus

Observational Highlight #10: Antrostomus vociferus (Eastern Whip-Poor-Will)
Virginia Outdoors Foundation - Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve



© Jacob Saucier, all rights reserved (used with permission)


Good morning everyone!

This week we will be continuing our theme of highlighting avian observations made at The Preserve. The star of this week's highlight is the Eastern Whip-Poor-Will and comes to us from Preserve volunteer and ornithologist @saucierj. Taken at the Preserve's Jackson Hollow research outpost, this individual whip-poor-will is one of several that could be heard in the isolated forest habitat. This nocturnal bird is a member of the Family Caprimulgidae, which includes several other nocturnal birds such as the chuck-will's-widow and common nighthawk.

The eastern whip-poor-will is another seasonal visitor (in a similar fashion to last week's highlighted species) but arrives from the south in late spring for the summer breeding season. The distinct song of the whip-poor-will (which you can listen to here) is probably familiar to many of those who frequently spend their summer nights along or in the eastern forests. From experience, the charismatic song of the whip-poor-will is something both nostalgic and exotic. Given their remarkable camouflage, this bird is more frequently heard than seen. The dark, nearly calico patterns on its feathers allow it to easily blend in among the branches of trees, snags, and down logs.

Interestingly, the eastern whip-poor-will is a ground-nesting bird, able to manage 1-2 broods each season. The whip-poor-will is also a bit of an amateur astronomer and lays their eggs following the lunar cycle. By planning for eggs to hatch 10 days before a full moon the feathered family has ample light to successfully capture large quantities of insects.

While getting pictures of this amazing animal can be tricky remember that audio is also a viable option for uploading to iNaturalist!


ABOUT #BullRunMountainsNaturalPreserve
The Bull Run Mountains are the easternmost mountains in Virginia. Virginia Outdoors Foundation - Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve is approximately 2,350 acres that serve as a living laboratory that sits in the backyard of our nation’s capital. The preserve contains 10 different plant community types and a plethora of regionally uncommon and threatened plant and animal species. In 2002, this land was dedicated by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation as a natural area preserve to protect the unique ecosystems found here. As the owner and manager of the preserve, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation is committed to protecting the special ecosystem found here and sharing it with the public through managed access.

Follow us on Social Media!
Instagram: @bullrunmountains
Facebook: Virginia Outdoors Foundation (Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve)
Our website: VOF RESERVES: Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve
Meetup Events: Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve Guided Hikes Group

Anotado en febrero 16, martes 15:20 por mjwcarr mjwcarr | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

11 de febrero de 2021

Observational Highlight of the Week: Junco hyemalis

Observational Highlight #9: Junco hyemalis (Dark-eyed Junco)
Virginia Outdoors Foundation - Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve



© Michael J. W. Carr, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC)


Hello again everybody!

I hope everyone who got snow was able to get out and enjoy it while it lasted. Speaking of snow, this week's preserve highlight is colloquially known as the snowbird, the Dark-eyed Junco. If you reviewed our iNaturalist annual report you would have noticed that birds accounted for one of our least represented "common" taxon recorded here on The Preserve. To help encourage the growth of avian iNaturalist observations the next several highlights will cover bird species observed at the Preserve. So let's jump in!

Today we will be reviewing an observation made by your's truly, @mjwcarr, at our research outpost during the first round of snowfall the other week. Many of you are probably already familiar with our highlight, the Dark-eyed Junco, either as a seasonal visitor to your backyard birdfeeder or as the last bird you see before becoming your own version of a snowbird. That namesake comes from the seasonal immigration habits of the species. Traveling hundreds, to potentially thousands of miles from their breeding grounds in the Canadian tundra.

A remarkable feature of the dark-eyed juncos is their incredible diversity across North America. While still considered the same species, the Junco hyemalis includes 15 distinct forms. These forms are regional color variants that range from our local "slate-colored" dark-eyed junco to the flamboyant "pink-sided" dark-eyed junco of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. Most of these forms occur in the western United States and Canada, Mexico, and several Central American countries - so don't worry about confusing the forms in our neck of the woods!

Keep an eye out for these guys near our south section trail entrance and parking lot!


ABOUT #BullRunMountainsNaturalPreserve
The Bull Run Mountains are the easternmost mountains in Virginia. Virginia Outdoors Foundation - Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve is approximately 2,350 acres that serve as a living laboratory that sits in the backyard of our nation’s capital. The preserve contains 10 different plant community types and a plethora of regionally uncommon and threatened plant and animal species. In 2002, this land was dedicated by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation as a natural area preserve to protect the unique ecosystems found here. As the owner and manager of the preserve, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation is committed to protecting the special ecosystem found here and sharing it with the public through managed access.

Follow us on Social Media!
Instagram: @bullrunmountains
Facebook: Virginia Outdoors Foundation (Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve)
Our website: VOF RESERVES: Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve
Meetup Events: Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve Guided Hikes Group

Anotado en febrero 11, jueves 23:37 por mjwcarr mjwcarr | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

01 de febrero de 2021

Observational Highlight of the Week: Diphasiastrum digitatum

Observational Highlight #8: Diphasiastrum digitatum (Fan Clubmoss)
Virginia Outdoors Foundation - Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve



© Paul Z, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC)


Happy snow day everyone!

This week's highlight comes from an observation made by @pz1 and was observed near our research outpost located in Jackson Hollow. This continues our look at EZ-2-ID species winter edition!

This week's highlight of the week is a curious plant native to our preserve. The species goes by many names, including running cedar, ground cedar, and crowsfoot. Commonly referred to as the fan clubmoss, this species is a member of the family Lycopodiaceae and is an ancient linage of vascular plants originating in the Devonian period some 380 million years ago. On closer examination, the species' ancient appearance is on full display with the tight, scale-like leaves resembling something like lizard skin.

This evergreen species produce clonal colonies of four-leaved, vegetative shoots that can quickly spread in disputed areas of forest. The plant can grow to about 4 inches off the ground with its strobilus, or sporangia-bearing reproductive organ, reaching several inches higher. The species was once under pressure from over-harvesting for seasonal holiday decorations but has since recovered throughout its range. The spores of the fan clubmoss was also once a primary ingredient in Lycopodium powder, a highly flammable substance used in early flash photography.

But how about identification?

I'm glad you asked! There are a number of Lycopodiaceae species to be found on the preserve, including the similar-looking Flat-branched Tree-Clubmoss. This species can be confidently identified by fan-like, lateral branches held horizontally from its central shoot, these branches are above the ground surface, and has four ranks of scaled leaves along its lateral branches.

Please be sure to continue recording your natural observations to iNaturalist and supporting this project with your membership, comments, and dissemination of this project to your friends and family! Thank you to each and every one of our visiting citizen scientists!


ABOUT #BullRunMountainsNaturalPreserve
The Bull Run Mountains are the easternmost mountains in Virginia. Virginia Outdoors Foundation - Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve is approximately 2,350 acres that serve as a living laboratory that sits in the backyard of our nation’s capital. The preserve contains 10 different plant community types and a plethora of regionally uncommon and threatened plant and animal species. In 2002, this land was dedicated by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation as a natural area preserve to protect the unique ecosystems found here. As the owner and manager of the preserve, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation is committed to protecting the special ecosystem found here and sharing it with the public through managed access.

Follow us on Social Media!
Instagram: @bullrunmountains
Facebook: Virginia Outdoors Foundation (Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve)
Our website: VOF RESERVES: Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve
Meetup Events: Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve Guided Hikes Group

Anotado en febrero 01, lunes 13:50 por mjwcarr mjwcarr | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

30 de enero de 2021

The Preserve at Bull Run's 2020 iNat Year in Review

Annual Update #1: 2020 in review
Virginia Outdoors Foundation - Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve


Sceloporus undulatus (Eastern Fence Lizard) Observed: Jun 27, 2020
© Michael J. W. Carr, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC)


Introduction

Hello everyone,

Despite the many tragedies caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many people found solace and enrichment in the embrace of the outdoors. This was particularly true for the preserve during the initial days of the pandemic prior to public closure to prevent potentially unneeded transmissions of the virus, and following our reopening with the addition of COVID-19 safety measures and distancing requirements. We are happy that the preserve's wonderous natural space can provide opportunities for visitors, especially those in the more urban heart of Northern Virginia, to experience enriching outdoor experiences.

In reviewing the nearly 4,000 observations made within The Preserve, over 80% were from 2020! This amounts to 3,141 total observations, a total of 505 "research-grade" identifications, and included 32 observers. An amazing result which is directly attributable to our visitors and acting citizen scientists! Thank you to everyone who contributed to our project over the last year, and I hope you will continue to help by sharing discoveries you encounter at The Preserve.




Antrostomus vociferous (Eastern Whip-Poor-Will) Observed: May 21, 2020
© Jacob Saucier, all rights reserved (used with permission)

The Preserve and Partnerships

The graphics below illustrate the number of observations taken at The Preserve throughout the year and a breakdown of observations based on taxonomic groupings. As you can see, our summer months were the most fruitful for our visitors, researchers, and preserve staff.

The spike in observations for June and August coincided with the involvement of preserve staff, research associates, and research fellows in The Wildlife Society 2020 Student Chapter Bioblitz. Bioblitz participants from George Mason University accumulated a sizable amount of observations from The Preserve. going on to achieve first place for total number of species observed, and third place for total number of "research-grade" observations! This was a significant, although not entirely surprising result given the immense biodiversity available within and around the Washington D. C. metropolitan area. Below is the numerical breakdown of observations per broad taxon grouping.

We here at the preserve look forward to participating in several other Bioblitz's in 2021, both as participants and organizers. For anyone interested in participating in a Bioblitz this year, please join the 2021 City Nature Challenge this April-May in an international competition between metropolitan city areas to see who has the most active citizen scientists!




Alaus oculatus (Eastern Eyed Click Beetle) Observed: Jun 10, 2020
© Joe Villari, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC)


iNaturalist Summary

Top five most observed species:
#1 Plethodon cinereus (Red-backed Salamander): 43 observations
#2 Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens (Red-spotted Newt): 37 observations
#3 Goodyera pudescens (Downy Rattlesnake Plaintain): 28 observations
#4 Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel): 24 observations
#5 Anaxyrus americanus americanus (Eastern American Toad): 22 observations

Top five identifiers:
#1 @mjwcarr: 250
#2 @wildlandblogger: 234
#3 @lucareptile: 173
#4 @nomolosx: 104
#5 @ericwilliams: 57

Top five observers:
#1 @mjwcarr: 1,582
#2 @jvillari: 498
#3 @wildlandblogger: 404
#4 @saucierj: 316
#5 @darwinsbeetle: 188




Celtis occidentalis (Common Hackberry) Observed: Jun 14, 2020
© Joe Villari, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC)

Thank you!

Thank you everyone who contributed observations and assisted in identifying our natural photography subjects. I hope to continuing seeing your input into our collection project throughout 2021!

@mjwcarr
@wildlandblogger
@lucareptile
@nomolosx
@ericwilliams
@easpears
@tysmith
@pwilson06
@saucierj
@davidenrique
@caterpillarofsociety
@choess
@arethusa
@austinrkelly
@dull2shinetoo
@mpintar
@merricollins
@dgovoni
@bertharris
@grigorenko
@d_kluza
@afid
@haleyoverstreet
@tsn
@animalview29
@mikemob
@syrherp
@shawnhsmith2015
@nanjemoycreek
@aispinsects
@hanly
@lenrely
@malacoderm
@jeffdc
@salticidude
@chuuuuung
@johngsalamander
@twpierson
@tom-kirschey-nabu
@myelaphus
@hopperdude215
@bmathison
@smoorman
@joshualincoln
@margaretchatham
@dburton4444
@kadira
@treichard
@brandonwoo
@erininmd
@banshee
@jacob62
@megachile
@argeezy
@tyugefez
@brdnrdr
@ameeds
@josephthebirder
@nana10
@catullus
@joannerusso
@catenatus
@k8thegr8
@tlit46
@lotteryd
@imasongster
@fboetzl
@spyingnaturalist
@lupoli_roland
@stomlins701
@janetwright
@peterslingsby
@mycowalt
@ellendale
@johnplischke
@wolfgangb
@matthias55

@matthias22
@conboy
@d2b
@the_little_elephant
@myco8p
@granolapunk
@daniel1810
@bgaudubon
@thebals
@kbeza31979
@aguilita
@johnodes
@kyhlaustin
@thedrw
@crothfels
@georgenaturephotos
@hikerguy150
@hannahwojo
@nhav91
@redeyedfrogger
@koaw
@gchorvath
@haley_
@billmcgtenn
@grazing
@roshan2010
@royaltyler
@danielatha
@hughmcguinness
@joseph92
@kevinfaccenda
@mmulqueen
@jane41
@mileszhang
@jasondombroskie
@oxalismtp
@boletusreticulatus
@saherron
@mikehannisian
@dr_firefly
@lerad
@jgw_atx
@pynklynx
@tca12345
@ephofmann
@mcgowenm
@rdiaz
@elytrid
@ken_j_allison
@haemocyanin11
@sarahwetterer
@treegrow
@carrieseltzer
@hobiecat
@adeans
@cosmiccat
@kevinhintsa
@sdjbrown
@edanko
@borisb
@megsquitophd
@johnascher
@hfb
@jameskm
@mikeakresh
@alex_cicindela_guy
@liztrain
@allisonbf
@alanhorstmann
@alexb0000
@bobbyfingers
@morganstickrod
@paul_dennehy
@maxallen
@coniontises
@michaelpirrello
@diane156

@zvkemp
@ungulateunion
@spencerpote
@charliesaunders
@buzzman
@jayell
@tmaximo
@dannynelson94
@brothernorbert
@catimoses
@erinbethel
@chickenparmesan24
@wearethechampignons
@rusty_shackleford_13
@vitalfranz
@michiko
@gaudettelaura
@matthew_salkiewicz
@rstlaurent
@apgarm
@ceiseman
@harsiparker
@cladonia_chris
@arrowheadspiketail58
@mantodea
@ellipsoptera
@else
@jimkingdon
@daverogers
@mossgeek
@alexis18
@jmmaes
@tombigelow
@alex_abair
@ginsengandsoon
@humanbyweight
@huzi0131
@jsulzmann
@thewildwalrus
@heatherholm
@leigh_winsor
@kevinwilliams
@mangum
@wojciech
@canoe4nature
@sean_c
@ahaislip
@clloyd98
@entomokot
@trinaroberts
@hisserdude
@mfawver
@chewitt1
@odhentomologist
@borisbolshakov
@karakaxa
@rob-westerduijn
@lmdalessio
@lycophyte
@biglaughinggym
@carlsonb
@deeplucanid
@kdstutzman
@thomaseverest
@talusrock
@ebspeciesfishing
@squidface
@callegrab
@tfrench
@annkatrinrose
@harvestman-man
@peakaytea
@ophiogomphus
@manassas
@arcb
@esummerbell
@ponerinecat

@scottshreve
@finigan
@alanliang
@chamelea
@johnkeisers
@groutta
@saturns-wings
@bugzilla
@cmciv
@taluswalker
@tnsparkleberry
@drshawntdash
@jeanloujustine
@zygy
@mothvet
@beartracker
@whiteoak
@jimjohnson
@alan_rockefeller
@polemoniaceae
@dan_johnson
@sedge
@wildcarrot
@dbarber
@grand
@lallen
@philipwoodscc
@fabienpiednoir
@jasonrgrant
@wdvanhem
@skitterbug
@thomashulsey
@malisaspring
@terit
@tmurray74
@noah_siegel
@etantrah
@johnschneider
@rayfisher
@claggy
@adambryant
@katharinab
@barbaraparris
@tlaloc27
@derhennen
@susanna_h
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ABOUT #BullRunMountainsNaturalPreserve
The Bull Run Mountains are the easternmost mountains in Virginia. Virginia Outdoors Foundation - Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve is approximately 2,350 acres that serve as a living laboratory that sits in the backyard of our nation’s capital. The preserve contains 10 different plant community types and a plethora of regionally uncommon and threatened plant and animal species. In 2002, this land was dedicated by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation as a natural area preserve to protect the unique ecosystems found here. As the owner and manager of the preserve, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation is committed to protecting the special ecosystem found here and sharing it with the public through managed access.

Follow us on Social Media!
Instagram: @bullrunmountains
Facebook: Virginia Outdoors Foundation (Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve)
Our website: VOF RESERVES: Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve
Meetup Events: Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve Guided Hikes Group

Anotado en enero 30, sábado 04:07 por mjwcarr mjwcarr | 12 comentarios | Deja un comentario

29 de enero de 2021

Observation Highlight of the Week: Pinus pungens

Observational Highlight #7: Pinus pungens (Table Mountain Pine)
Virginia Outdoors Foundation - Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve



© Michael J. W. Carr, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC)


Hello again everyone!

This week's observational highlight is a shameless, self-observation from yours truly, @mjwcarr.

While many of us may have difficulty in confidently identifying members of the genus Pinus, it is reasonable considering the diversity of species found within the D. C. Metropolitan area. These pines include many commercially managed species, such as loblolly, shortleaf, white, and Virginia pine, in addition to several other local species like the black, pitch, and, of course, the table mountain pine. This rich diversity provides those visiting the preserve an approachable opportunity to develop tree identification skills, even during the winter!

Those visiting our public southern trails can find easily accessible examples of loblolly pines along the roadside near the parking lot!

The Table Mountain pine, highlighted here, is an extraordinary species of Pinus that occurs at high elevation habitats typically associated with the Shenandoah Mountains. The Bull Run Mountains share a similar plant community type to the ridges of the Shenandoah given that it stands as the easternmost front of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Given the approximately 20-mile gap between the Bull Run and Blue Ridge, the table mountain pines at Bull Run have been isolated for long enough to represent their own distinct population!

But how do we identify it?

Well, that's a good question! For many of us amateur naturalists, we know some of the most helpful units for identification are the needles and cones. For table mountain and Virginia pines, needles grow in groups of two. This is helpful for ruling out white (whose needles grow in groups of 5) and Loblolly (which grow in groups of 3), both are common pines in Virginia. For more specific identification, table mountain pine needles are considerably more robust and slightly short than Virginia pine. The profile of the table mountain pine is also significantly more robust. Finally, the cones of the table mountain pine are numerous in their clumping, sometimes contain 4 or more cones grouped closely together.

Interested in hearing more? Click here to learn from Virginia Tech Dendrology!


ABOUT #BullRunMountainsNaturalPreserve
The Bull Run Mountains are the easternmost mountains in Virginia. Virginia Outdoors Foundation - Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve is approximately 2,350 acres that serve as a living laboratory that sits in the backyard of our nation’s capital. The preserve contains 10 different plant community types and a plethora of regionally uncommon and threatened plant and animal species. In 2002, this land was dedicated by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation as a natural area preserve to protect the unique ecosystems found here. As the owner and manager of the preserve, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation is committed to protecting the special ecosystem found here and sharing it with the public through managed access.

Follow us on Social Media!
Instagram: @bullrunmountains
Facebook: Virginia Outdoors Foundation (Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve)
Our website: VOF RESERVES: Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve
Meetup Events: Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve Guided Hikes Group

Anotado en enero 29, viernes 21:00 por mjwcarr mjwcarr | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

12 de enero de 2021

Observation Highlight of the Week: Kalmia latifolia

Observational Highlight #6: Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel)
Virginia Outdoors Foundation - Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve



© Jacob Saucier, all rights reserved (used with permission)


Happy New Year all!

December flew by a bit more expeditiously than I was expecting, so I will be covering the remaining EZ-2-ID plants of December in this new year :)

To start off 2021 we will be diving into one of my favorite plants of the Appalachians - the mountain laurel! It may be better known by you botanist types as Kalmia latifolia , and is a close relative of our last observational highlight, the spotted wintergreen.

Now before we jump into that relationship, let's thank iNat user and friend of the preserve @saucierj for his amazing observations of our flowering mountain laurel from last summer. This project is driven by all those curious individuals utilizing the iNaturalist application to learn more about the world around them, or those just wanting to share the extraordinary beauty that can be found along one's journey through the woods. Every observation uploaded from the preserve allows us to better understand the biodiversity that is contained within this unique ecosystem, and what organisms you all find to be interesting enough to photograph.

But now let's dig into this amazing plant.

The mountain laurel is one of my favorite species on the preserve and also one of its most recognizable! This broadleaf evergreen species is closely related to last week's observational highlight, being within the family Ericaceae. However, it might be more familiar to gardeners as a member of the genus Rhododendron . While the mountain laurel isn't displaying its beautiful floral display at this time of year, the acute, entire waxy leaves are very distinct among the relatively whimsical oak and beech leaves of the preserve's south section trails.

For those unfamiliar with leaf identification, the woody stem of the plant can offer a quick giveaway. The twisting shape and flaky bark tend to stick out among the tree seedlings and bramble that also occupies the understory. While you may encounter a stray mountain laurel in certain areas of the preserve, the plant is usually "shoulder to shoulder" with its fellow laurel. These groups of laurel can be hard to miss among the dreary browns and greys of winter.


ABOUT #BullRunMountainsNaturalPreserve
The Bull Run Mountains are the easternmost mountains in Virginia. Virginia Outdoors Foundation - Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve is approximately 2,350 acres that serve as a living laboratory that sits in the backyard of our nation’s capital. The preserve contains 10 different plant community types and a plethora of regionally uncommon and threatened plant and animal species. In 2002, this land was dedicated by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation as a natural area preserve to protect the unique ecosystems found here. As the owner and manager of the preserve, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation is committed to protecting the special ecosystem found here and sharing it with the public through managed access.

Follow us on Social Media!
Instagram: @bullrunmountains
Facebook: Virginia Outdoors Foundation (Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve)
Our website: VOF RESERVES: Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve
Meetup Events: Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve Guided Hikes Group

Anotado en enero 12, martes 22:28 por mjwcarr mjwcarr | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

02 de diciembre de 2020

Observation Highlight of the Week: Chimaphila maculata

Observational Highlight #5: Chimaphila maculata (Spotted Wintergreen)
Virginia Outdoors Foundation - Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve



© Susan Parent, all rights reserved


It's December already? Wow, this year has flown by!

It might be raining like April, but winter is right around the corner. To celebrate the soon-to-be changing seasons we will be focusing on preserve species that will be easy to spot and identify!

This week's observational highlight is Chimaphila maculata, or the spotted wintergreen! This individual was observed by preserve visitor and citizen scientist Susan Parent (iNat user @susanparent) last December! Thank you Susan for uploading your observations from your visit :)

Also referred to as striped wintergreen, the spotted wintergreen is a small perennial evergreen that can be found along the trails throughout the preserve. The species is adapted to growing in relatively infertile, acidic soil which is the common substrate in the rocky terrain of the Bull Run Mountains. The species belongs to the family Ericaceae, which includes blueberries, huckleberries, and rhododendrons. This family is remarkably well represented along the ridges and hollows of the preserve.

Among the blanket of dead leaves of the forest floor, you will likely find the small green leaves of the spotted wintergreen. Their distinctive white-veined leaves and red stems make them easy to identify once you've picked them out from the groundcover.

A dot of green is always a welcome change from the brown and orange of winter, so keep those peepers primed! There is always green to be had as long as you look. That lack of color can deter many of us from exploring the outdoors, but there is always something new to stumble across outdoors!


ABOUT #BullRunMountainsNaturalPreserve
The Bull Run Mountains are the easternmost mountains in Virginia. The Virginia Outdoors Foundation’s Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve is approximately 2,350 acres that serve as a living laboratory that sits in the backyard of our nation’s capital. The preserve contains 10 different plant community types and a plethora of regionally uncommon and threatened plant and animal species. In 2002, this land was dedicated by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation as a natural area preserve to protect the unique ecosystems found here. As the owner and manager of the preserve, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation is committed to protecting the special ecosystem found here and sharing it with the public through managed access.

Follow us on Social Media!
Instagram: @bullrunmountains
Facebook: Virginia Outdoors Foundation (Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve)
Our website: VOF RESERVES: Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve
Meetup Events: Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve Guided Hikes Group

Anotado en diciembre 02, miércoles 13:51 por mjwcarr mjwcarr | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario