Morning Wildlife Reading: Gwyn Loud’s March Column (LLCT)

Photo credit: Michele Grzenda

This morning I am listening to the morning calls of various brown and grey birds (I am SUPER good at bird-watching) after falling asleep last night to the sound of Stony Brook’s wetland peepers. In a few minutes, I will be leaving to walk the intrepid Katie Puppy in College Pond conservation woods where we will be serenaded by nuthatches and red-winged blackbirds (the latter even I can identify). As I was doing my morning research of goings-on, news and notes, I found Gwyn Loud’s March wildlife column in my inbox. And promptly dropped everything so I could read it.

Now, as we all know, I am 100% in favor of annexing Lincoln (we lost them in the 1700s) except they have an adept Minute Man crew and apparently they like where they are. In that case, I say we steal Gwyn Loud. If you don’t know her, she is an amazing writer and naturalist and her monthly column will knock your socks off, even if you pretend to not care about little beasties or nature at all. Here is March’s column, and you may want to read past columns just for fun while you’re on the bus. Or whatever. I always learn something, for instance, skunk cabbage this month:

” In swamps look for skunk cabbage, which is among a small group of plants which produce their own warm mini-climate in a process called thermogenesis. In this process skunk cabbage increases its intake of oxygen and rapidly burns starch from its massive underground root system, thus creating heat, which it maintains at a steady 72℉, no matter what the outside temperature is. The pollen in the flower provides early food for honeybees, and insects such as carrion beetles, flesh flies, and blowflies are attracted to the skunk cabbage’s fetid carrion-like odor which is intensified by the plant’s warmth. Several species of spiders then prey upon these insects- a whole food chain happening in a small warm space.

Did you know that? That is crazy good stuff. Also included in this month’s column is a link to Michele Grzenda’s Vernal Pool presentation for Lincoln Conservation. I twice met Michele this past month to watch the amphibians cross the road. It is my favorite thing I did in March.

Looking for frogs and salamanders. Photo credit: Michele Grzenda

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One comment

  • Enjoyed that report–and loved linking to the Lincoln vernal pond show. Everything Ms. Grzenda presents is totally worth watching. This program is one of my very favorites. She is so well-informed and makes the material leap to life with her enthusiasm and deep affection for wildlife. Watch it!

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