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 […]

Flora Feature: Butterfly-weed

By Rachel Floyd, Center for Urban Habitats Family: Apocynaceae Genus: Asclepias Species: tuberosa Average Height: 24 inches Bloom Time: June through August Elevation Range: All elevations of the Piedmont Geologic/Soil Associations: Prefers lean soils including rocky or sandy soils, but will tolerate clay if not kept too moist. Soil Drainage Regimes: Xeric, Dry-mesic, and Mesic. […]

Flora Feature: Ragged Fringed Orchid

By Ezra Staengl, Center for Urban Habitats Center for Urban Habitats recently discovered two ragged fringed orchids (Platanthera lacera) on a survey of an acidic powerline prairie in eastern Albemarle.  We found the orchid in a powerline corridor holding a remarkably diverse prairie remnant, especially notable for having multiple plants not previously recorded in Albemarle […]

Field Note: Albemarle County Record for Little Brown Skink, Scincella lateralis

Scincella lateralis (little brown skink) VA: Albemarle County, The Hedgerow Property (38° 0’37.39″N 78°34’47.57″W) June 13, 2017. Devin Floyd. Significance of Record: County First. While preforming biological survey transects at the site of the future Albemarle County Park known as “Hedgerow”, I encountered Scincella lateralis on numerous occasions. Dates observed were 05/02/2017, 05/09/2017, 05/30/2018, and […]

Field Note: Albemarle County Record for Spotted Turtle, Clemmys guttata

Clemmys guttata (spotted turtle) VA: Albemarle County, Mill Creek / Biscuit Run Floodplain Pools (37°59’51.02″N  78°30’48.82″W) February 28, 2018. Devin Floyd. Significance of Record: County First. On this warm late winter day I ventured into a wetland along the Biscuit Run immediately east of the north end of Biscuit Run State Park. The site is […]

The Piedmont Mafic Barren: A Rare but Endangered Treasure Right in our Midst

By Drew Chaney Naturalist and Botanist, Central Virginia As you walk up the hill, you see a gap in the canopy. A sloping outcrop of bedrock lies before you, bordered by gnarled cedars, dwarf hackberries with smooth, cool gray branches, and the olive-green ground cover of the hairy lip fern. You step into the clearing […]