Granite Flatrock Barren

By Drew Chaney, Center for Urban Habitats The Southern Piedmont Granitic Flatrock is a globally rare plant community restricted to the Piedmont from Alabama north to south-central Virginia, occurring on exposed bedrock outcrops of granite and related rocks, where streams have eroded the rock smooth over time, creating a unique ecological niche where lichens and […]

Flora Feature: Woodland Sunflower (Helianthus divaricatus)

By Cinder Stanton, Center for Urban Habitats Woodland Sunflower Helianthus divaricatus Family: Asteraceae   Average Height: 4 feet (range is 2-6 feet) Bloom Time: June through August Elevation Range: All elevations in the Piedmont Geologic/Soil Associations: Typically found on bedrock that is rich in cations (rocks with dark minerals, such as metabasalt, gabbro, amphibolite, biotite-plagioclase […]

Exciting Finds in Charlottesville’s Vernal Pools

By Drew Chaney, Center for Urban Habitats American Toad Anaxyrus americanus Family: Bufonidae   One late March day, I decided to check out the new boardwalk that was recently installed at Greenbrier Park in north Cville. It was pleasant outside, the birds were active, and spring peepers were calling incessantly. The boardwalk was added as […]

Creature Feature: American Woodcock

By Ezra Staengl, Center for Urban Habitats American Woodcock Scolopax minor Family: Scolopacidae Other common names: Timberdoodle, Labrador Twister, Big-eye, Bog Snipe, Bog Sucker, Night Partridge   I stood at dusk in the middle of a field near the North Fork of the Rockfish River in Nelson County. The cool, evening air blew gently around […]

A Natural History of Charlottesville: Project Update February 2019

By Devin Floyd, Center for Urban Habitats (Above: Blue Ridge-Piedmont Basic Woodland by Devin Floyd) Between day jobs and family life, a dedicated crew of volunteer experts is chipping away at laying the groundwork for an interactive online resource that tells the rich story of Charlottesville’s Natural History. Here’s a quick project update. Aquatic Macroinvertebrates […]

Deciduous Rainbow

By Eric Anderson, Center for Urban Habitats (Above: Nyssa sylvatica [black gum]) Gazing out at these November landscapes, we find ourselves enveloped in the warm yellows, oranges, and reds so comfortingly juxtaposed against the brisk seasonal air nipping our skin and vaporizing in our lungs. Few experiences delight with the same universality as this transformation […]

Creature Feature: Common Buckeye

By Ezra Staengl, Center for Urban Habitats Common Buckeye Junonia coenia Family: Nymphalidae   Distinguishing Features/Description: Common buckeyes are medium sized, brightly colored and strikingly patterned butterflies. Each of the buckeye’s four wings have two dark colored eye spots circled in a thin band of yellow. The eye spots are positioned along the edges of […]

Creature Feature: Painted Skimmer

By Drew Chaney, Center for Urban Habitats Painted Skimmer Libellula semifasciata Family: Libellulidae   Distinguishing Features/Description: The painted skimmer is a medium-sized, showy dragonfly with a translucent orange thorax and abdomen, partial orange wing venation, dark wing bands, reddish eyes, and black markings on the abdomen tip. Distribution and Habitat: The painted skimmer is found […]

Creature Feature: Northern Bobwhite

By Ezra Staengl, Center for Urban Habitats Northern Bobwhite Colinus virginianus Family: Odontophoridae Other common names: Bobwhite Quail, Virginia Quail Distinguishing Features/Description Northern bobwhites are a small, round bodied species of quail with short legs and tails. Their bodies are finely patterned with bold rufous, brown, black and white markings. Most bobwhite populations have a […]