Today’s Mystery Photo was submitted by Phyllis Katz, of Norwich, Vermont. Do you know what the whitish part of the photograph is? It appeared overnight in her garden and it measures roughly 12” by 6”. Identification will be revealed tomorrow. All guesses welcome!
The subject of today’s Mystery Photo was submitted by Jeannie Killam of Barnard, Vermont. It is approximately 1″ long, and 1/2″ in diameter. Its identity will be revealed tomorrow — all guesses welcome!
After the flowers of Skunk Cabbage, located on the knob (spadix) sitting inside a modified leaf (spathe), have been pollinated and fertilized, the fruits begin to mature. The spathe withers and dies, and the stalk that carries the fruit head elongates, growing along the surface of the ground. Initially the fruit head is green and dark purple, measures 2-3” in diameter, and has a convoluted exterior resembling that of a brain. Inside this compound fruit a circle of 10 to 14 seeds lines the periphery. By August the fruit heads will have fallen apart, and the seeds will lay on the ground where they will likely germinate or be eaten by squirrels, ruffed grouse or wood ducks. (Congratulations Liz, Josh and Deb on correctly identifying yesterday’s Mystery Photo!)
Well done, those of you who guessed Wild Turkey, which was most of you! Charlotte Carlson not only discovered their nest, but managed to photograph the hen and tom turkey in the act of making the eggs!
Do you know whose scat this is? Chances are that you may never have seen the scat of this animal, but a close look at its composition will give you a large hint. An additional clue can be found by examining the log that the scat is sitting on (the log is there for display purposes – the scat was originally deposited in the water). The identity of the scat-maker will be posted tomorrow!
The first of hopefully many nature mysteries was interpreted and documented with photographs taken by the observers. A brief explanation of this story in the snow accompanies the photographs. Mystery photos are welcome–please check the submission guidelines (see link in menu at the top of my blog) prior to sending your photograph/questions.
This story took place in Sharon, Vermont, where Francie and Ron Schmidt commonly observe a pair of mallards on or near their pond. One morning this winter they spotted a red-tailed hawk perched in a tree, feeding on something. Being naturally curious, they decided to buckle on their snowshoes and see if they could find any signs of the kill in order to determine exactly what the hawk was dining on. The pictures they took tell the tale of the misfortune of one mallard drake.
After killing the mallard, the hawk proceeded to pluck many of its feathers while standing on the surface of the snow. It ate some of the duck’s organs and then took off for the tree with the front end of the duck in its talons, leaving the hind portion behind on the snow along with all the plucked feathers. The repeated indentations in the snow made by the hawk’s feet and wings indicate that the hawk had a bit of a struggle trying to take off with such a heavy load. However, it succeeded in reaching the tree, where they had initially seen it. Having documented this entire story with their camera, the Schmidts decided to return home. On their way back, they happened to notice a female mallard, most likely the other member of the mallard pair, hiding in a nearby shrub. Later, they photographed the hawk off the corner of their deck when he returned to the kill site