Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Things that live under things

My favorite little apple tree on Lee Road shades a patch of grass maybe 10 feet in diameter.  Not much shade now because the leaves aren't out, but enough that this patch of grass stays green through the summer and hides several species of small wildflowers, always earwigs and pill bugs, sometimes worms and spiders, and today, for the first time, a Southern Long-toed Salamander.  Great find for first full day of spring.  These salamanders, like most amphibians, are threatened by human activities and need protection.  If you uncover one, enjoy the view for a moment, then carefully cover it up.  They have no lungs and must remain moist in order to breathe through their skin.  I photographed the Henbit Dead Nettle under the apple tree, then further down the rod, near the animal shelter, I found some fully-blooming Filaree and some Johnny Jump Ups that bloomed on sunny days but remained closed today when it was cold and cloudy.  The Henbit appears here often.  They are small and difficult to photograph, but quite beautiful.  I keep trying to get the ultimate photo of them.  Haven't achieved that yet.   Forgot to mention, the earwig find was exciting today as I found a female guarding her eggs and a male nearby.  I've uncovered earwigs hundreds of times, but this was the first time I found one guarding eggs. 

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