July 14, 2016 (Allons enfants!)–
For the Quarry Gardens site, we have a preliminary report on the June 4 survey by members of the Virginia Herpetological Society noting 50 animals of 16 species. Those already familiar to us include: Northern Cricket Frog, American Toad, Bullfrog, Eastern Fence Lizard, Eastern Ratsnake, Common Five-lined Skink, Gray Treefrog, Eastern River Cooter, Green Frog, Northern Ring-necked Snake, Fowler’s Toad, Eastern Box Turtle. New to us: Eastern Wormsnake, Eastern Red-spotted Newt, Three-lined Salamander, Northern Dusky Salamander—and several Little Brown Skinks (Scincella lateralis), a new county record for Nelson County. The final report will be in the fall issue of the peer-reviewed journal Catesbeiana. Here is the herp group at the viewing platform:
Here are some of the things they found, including a fence lizard, a five-lined skink, and a little ringneck snake.
Devin is continuing to catalog plants around the quarries. His report on the parking lot area, highlighted in the featured image, above, noted:
“We’ve had our eyes on the largest parking lot island (southernmost) since the onset of the project. We hypothesized that the area contained the remains of a well-developed ultramafic woodland, with an impacted shrub layer. . . . If you will walk around this island you will see an unbelievable array of rushes, sedges, and good herbaceous perennials intermingled with a textbook assemblage of mafic woodland woody vines, shrubs, and trees. We would like to give this area further study. . . . I estimate that there are probably 25-50 species of flora in there that are new to the Quarry’s list of biota. The most notable characteristic is that the giant island is nearly 100% free of non-native exotic species. It’s green with natives that love that base-rich, magnesium-rich substrate.”
On the domestic scene (at our house) today: garter snake under a tomato plant, and a black rat snake stalking eggs (unsuccessfully) in the chicken house.
Progress continues in the admin building, of which more in the next post.