Views from Southwest Virginia

Joan K

Joan K
Southwest, Virginia, USA
I'm a retired professor from Virginia Tech living the good life in the Appalachian mountains with my husband, a dog, and two cats along with lots of wildlife. I love reading, commenting and posting on Open Salon. Long live OS!


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APRIL 24, 2009 9:48AM

Wood Thrush Sighting in the Appalachians

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Sassafras Tree in Bloom (April 20, 2009)

He was there--a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, a tiny bird who I see every spring. If I had had my camera handy, I would have  a great shot.  Instead, I am satisfied to enjoy the lovely color of the Sassafras blossoms to cherish the memory.   The blossoms are not as flashy as the Redbud, seen in the background, yet the yellow-green color of the blossoms is a nice  complement to all the lime-green of the emerging leaves in the forest.   In the Fall, this native understory tree also has beautiful orange foiliage.

Wood Thrush (April 22, 2009)

On Earth Day morning, I saw my first Wood Thrush, under the feeders acting a whole lot like a Robin--what a reminder to appreciate the wonders of the good earth. This morning I heard his wonderful song for the first time.

The Wood Thrush lives only in mature forest and has seen a decline because of development.    I am happy that we have a conservation easement on our land to provide the these birds with a home forever. 


Garlic Mustard

Another sighting was not welcome at all--garlic mustard. I thought I had rid my yard of this troublesome invasive two years ago. I pulled up some last year and thought I was done with it. Evidently, I missed a few because there were small stands along the edge of our yard and into the woods. So, I have been pulling them up by the roots. Now is the best time to get rid of them because the ground is moist to make them easy to pull up and get the entire taproot.   Also, the white flowers are easily seen at a distance.

The seed pods of the Garlic Mustard will pop out hundreds of seeds from a single plant. That's why I was determined to pull out every plant I could find. I also learned not to put them in the compost pile or let them lay on the ground--they can still do their dirty work. So, I have a 5-gallon bucket full of the plants in my shed--I will let them dry out and maybe put them on one of our bonfires later this year if we can stand the garlic smell.

Last Sunday, I put up my hummingbird feeder and within an hour, I saw a hummer at the feeder. I usually wait until the Columbine blooms which coincides with the arrival of hummingbirds.  However,  this year the Columbine bloomed very late, perhaps because of the cool weather.

Spring is racing along here in the Appalachian mountains.

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birds, nature, plants

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Lovely, Joan. Good on you for fighting the invasives!
Beautiful post, Joan.
I have hummers too.
You can pull invasives all day and miss a few......
Those are beautiful, and it would appear we spent the weekend in somewhat similar pursuits...
Joan, it's nice to see what's happening "spring-wise" in your beautiful area!
o'stephanie--thanks, it is a constant fight. At least with garlic mustard, I am getting somewhere. I have others that are impossible (multi-flora rose, periwinkle, etc.) to eradicate but I keep trying.
Mission--I love the hummers and am still looking to find my first nest. You are right about the invasives--I found more this evening.
Wordsmith--thanks for the note and yeah, it's that time of year.
designator--spring is my favorite time of year even though I tend to overdo it in the garden and on my nature walks.