Tag Archive: Wildlife

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: Milkweed Magic

September 18, 2020 - By Ellen Powell, DOF 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: 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

Foresters on Bear Den Duty

February 26, 2020 - DOF foresters are lending a hand to locate foster moms for orphaned bear cubs in Virginia.  DOF’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

Field Notes: What’s in the Woods? Cold Bullfrogs Don’t Jump 

February 3, 2020 - by Area Forester Lisa Deaton For many of us who work in the natural resources arena, it is a joy to see school buses arrive for an outdoor field trip. Throughout the state, the Virginia Department of Forestry (DOF) staff partner with many school divisions and local, state and federal natural resource agencies to provide elements of meaningful watershed educational experiences, also called MWEEs, for students. It is especially nice... Read More

Field Notes: What’s in the Woods? Best of Summer 2019

January 16, 2020 - By Area Forester Lisa Deaton A Round-up of Interesting Moments & Encounters in the Woods from Summer 2019 When a local deadline for forest land use reports passed in late fall, I had time to share photos from the past few months. Note:  Land Use Assessment is available in many Virginia counties (but not all) for property owners with 20 or more acres of woods.  You can check with your... Read More

Field Notes: An Intern’s Day at Conway Robinson State Forest

August 15, 2019 - By Intern Marissa Ardovino As the summer comes to an end, I’ll recall one day I spent in Conway Robinson State Forest… I walked quietly down the blue trail at Conway Robinson State Forest, rounding a bend in the path when suddenly a small branch shot backwards and retracted upon itself into the depths of a thorny blackberry bramble. I stopped and listened to soft rustling in the shadows of... Read More

Field Notes: What’s In The Woods Today? August 7, 2019

August 13, 2019 - By Area Forester Lisa Deaton Spiders August is spider month. If you have ever been the first person in line on a hiking trail, you have probably experienced the feeling of a spider web wrapping around your face. Just about the time you remove that web, another one lands in its place. By late summer, these “shell-backed” spiders (above), Micrathena gracilis, seem to have taken over the forest and cobwebs... Read More

Field Notes: What’s in the Woods Today? May 15, 2019

June 5, 2019 - Brush Piles and ‘Possums and Other Little Surprises By Area Forester Lisa Deaton As I was walking through a clearcut to help a landowner consider reforestation options, I saw an opossum cross a nearby dirt road. I thought to myself, “Surely I can outrun a ‘possum and take some photos.” However, I had to hop over logging debris and briars, while the opossum followed its well-worn path through the vines... Read More

Field Notes: What’s in the Woods Today? April 22, 2019

April 22, 2019 - by Area Forester Lisa Deaton Two Snake Day! Last week the sun was shining, and the fresh spring foliage and flowers were lovely.  The road in the photo above was a Gloucester County state road until Beaverdam Reservoir was built in 1989,  submerging a section of this road. Pawpaw blooms (Asimina triloba) Eastern redbud blooms can resemble tiny hummingbirds. (Cercis canadensis) Then I almost stepped on a copperhead snake heading... Read More