Archivos de Diario para febrero 2021

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

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

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