Tag Archive: Wildlife

Field Notes

A Woodcock Encounter

April 26, 2021 - By Scott Bachman, VDOF Senior Area Forester, Blackwater team Now that it’s April I will declare that spring is officially here in southeastern Virginia! Earlier this month, I was traveling a back road in Southampton County when ahead I saw a line of small objects on the highway. As I got closer, I could see they were birds. The lead bird was larger than the four that followed. My first thought was... Read More

Field Notes

Field Notes: Partnerships at Pleasant Grove

April 19, 2021 - By Ellen Powell, VDOF Conservation Education Coordinator Pleasant Grove Park in Fluvanna County offers a nature-rich experience for visitors and a variety of habitats for wildlife. Behind the scenes, it’s also a model for collaboration between county government and a plethora of partners. VDOF has been a part of several education and stewardship projects at the park, including establishment of a tree identification trail, providing trees for planting, and most... Read More

Field Notes

Field Notes: Spring Break for Salamanders

March 26, 2021 - By Ellen Powell, VDOF Conservation Education Coordinator The woods are alive, with the sound of … frog calls? Yes, it must be spring in Virginia! Beginning in late winter, ponds, swamps, sloughs and vernal pools become concert halls for breeding choruses of frogs and toads, known collectively as anurans (nerd-word of the day). Joining them are the much quieter – but no less numerous – salamanders. These amphibians spend most... Read More

Field Notes

Field Notes: Atlantic White-cedar Makes a Comeback?

March 18, 2021 - By Scott Bachman, VDOF Senior Area Forester, Blackwater Work Area A number of years back, a hurricane made landfall on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and forced her way through the southeastern coastal area of Virginia on the way to dumping flooding rains on the remainder of the Commonwealth. That storm was Isabel. In her wake, she left 32 people dead and more than 1.85 billion dollars in damage. Directly... Read More

Field Notes

Field Notes: Wandering the Winter Woods

March 16, 2021 - By Ellen Powell, VDOF Conservation Education Coordinator A few weeks ago, on a cold but sunny day, I visited Paul State Forest in Rockingham County for the first time. It was a great place for a winter woods walk. The Paul became a State Forest in 1962 – a gift to the state from a local judge, John Paul. The forest is included in the Department of Wildlife Resources’ (DWR)... Read More

Stories

Native Ecosystem Restoration Expanded in Southeastern Virginia

February 16, 2021 - The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) and the Meadowview Biological Research Station (MBRS) recently acquired land that expands an existing conservation easement on the Joseph Pines Preserve in Sussex County.  The 196-acre purchase by MBRS increases the preserve property to nearly 428 acres. The easement, donated to VDOF by MBRS, includes the entire preserve. “This partnership exemplifies the positive impact of multiple agencies and nonprofit organizations working together with a shared... Read More

Field Notes

Field Notes: Covey Call in the Big Woods

October 20, 2020 - By Scott Bachman, Senior Area Forester, Blackwater Region In the pre-dawn hours, Venus and Mars were the brightest objects in the dark sky, save for the crescent moon that, as the old timers might say, was holding water. The occasional satellite could be seen in its telltale unblinking arc streaking across the inky blackness of space. Suddenly, a shooting star blazed west to east before fading out.  Stephen Jasenak and I were... Read More

Field Notes

Field Notes: Milkweed Magic

September 18, 2020 - By Ellen Powell, VDOF Conservation Education Coordinator For a plant with ‘weed’ in its title, milkweed is a pretty awesome plant. It contains toxins called cardiac glyphosides, which deter feeding by most insects and mammals. Despite this trait, a milkweed plant is a little universe unto itself. In fact, one study documented more than 450 species of insects visiting milkweed in a single midwestern field. You probably already know about... Read More

Field Notes

Field Notes: Sounds of Spring

April 10, 2020 - by Ellen Powell, conservation educator The flush of green suffusing our woodlands isn’t the only signal that spring is here. If a daily dawn chorus wakes you this month, it likely includes our state bird, the northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis). This species is a bit unusual, in that both males and females sing, providing a familiar soundtrack in woodland edges and thickets statewide. Learn more about cardinals and listen to... Read More

Stories

Foresters on Bear Den Duty

February 26, 2020 - VDOF foresters are lending a hand to locate foster moms for orphaned bear cubs in Virginia.  VDOF’s sister agency Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) recently reached out with a request for help identifying black bear dens on forestland throughout the state. DGIF biologists have received a number of calls about bear cubs that have been separated from their mother— “well beyond what we normally see at this... Read More