Spring is popping out all over

With so much rain, everything is growing at an incredible rate and new wildflowers are popping up every day. Just yesterday, I noticed Ox-Eye Daisies in the fields and Fire Pinks and Goatsbeard along the roadsides. Fleabane, a member of the aster family that tends to grow prodigiously in Virginia, is probably the most common wildflower in bloom now.

Ox-Eye Daisy

Ox-Eye Daisy

Fire Pink

Fire Pink

Goatsbeard (Yellow Salsify)

Goatsbeard (Yellow Salsify)

We’re really trying to get our garden and orchard going this year, sometimes working in the mud because of all the rain. I’ve been busy adding perennials to the rock garden I started last year and found this little salamander hiding under one of the plants. I tried to identify him, but there are just too many salamanders in Virginia. Does anyone have any idea what species this guy might belong to?
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We also have what I believe to be a Little Brown Bat roosting in our porch rafters. I was surprised to learn that while most bats hibernate in large colonies during the winter, they may remain solitary the rest of the year, roosting in trees as well as man-made structures. I hope this one gobbles up lots of insects!
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Each year, the same birds (or their offspring) return to raise another generation and there are nests everywhere. Bluebirds and phoebes have nests in the porch rafters and are busy making dozens of food runs everyday. Crazy wrens will nest anywhere: a pair is raising its young in the log splitter! My next post will probably be an update on the nesting birds.

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16 thoughts on “Spring is popping out all over

  1. Four-toed salamander? (wild guess)
    How nice that you are providing habitat for bats, too! So many people hate them, but they are really important to the ecosystem. Lovely photos!

    • You could be right about the salamander. One thing that made it hard to identify is that it had no distinguishing features. Bats do get a bad rap, but you’re right, they help keep the insect population under control.

  2. Nice to see what a daisy looks like. The snows of Minnesota have made our daisies afraid, very afraid!

    • The flowers were even a little timid about emerging here because of the wide fluctuations in the weather. We had the coldest April I can remember. Hope you’ll have daisies coming up soon.

  3. You live in an area of high salamander diversity — good luck with the ID. I’m guessing some species of Plethodon — it has the right shape for one. Spring does seem to have sort of sprung up on us this year.

    • The Blue Ridge is an area of tremendous wildlife diversity, which makes it doubly difficult for a lay person to ID a particular species, particularly when it comes to amphibians. Not making it any easier, the species I found lacked any distinguishing markings, at least as far as I could tell.

    • I hadn’t seen them before either until I moved to Virginia. When I first saw them, I thought they were cardinal flowers, but cardinal flower plants are taller, more columnar.

    • Wow, yes, that was a long time coming! I’m kind of liking our cool spring; there’s plenty of time for the hot, muggy days of summer that we get here.

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