Woods and Fields in the Coldest Month?
Well our Coldest Month Walk, was held on the warmest day so far this year. We had eight people come from around Loudoun as well as points as far away as Bethesda, to enjoy a warm, and wonderful nature walk through the backside of Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship (BRCES).
Not much was happening, but we did discover some case making Caddis flies in Sweet Run. We saw a very few birds but those that did show themselves included Carolina Chickadees, White Breasted Nuthatches, Pileated Woodpeckers, Black and Turkey Vultures, and Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks. We also heard a Barred Owl.
Although most trees and plants were in their ‘winter mode’ we noted that the Witch hazel was past blooming and the Spicebush blossom buds were swelling, just waiting for a few more warm spells to burst open. Despite being a little too early in the season there was no signs of Vernal pool activity even though several of the pools had ‘open water’; Salamanders just waiting for a good warm rain before they start their journeys to them.
We met Mary Weeks and her husband along the trail. They had come back along “Woodthrush trail” looking for Skunk Cabbage and reported that a few were up several inches. Unfortunately our group had taken another trail, and found none in the spring seepages we visited but did see some signs of wildlife with Deer and Raccoon tracks in the muddy paths.
(This great field trip report was sent over by Phil Daley who led the walk for us)