Hey! I have not been active much lately because my life is quite hectic, as I am currently at a sports competition. So, I will not be doing a formal Biocap until a week or two later, near the holidays. But I wanted to share some cool moments that happened this week!
Firstly, I want to say that I have a change in heart in my identification of the jelly fungus in the last Biocap. I went to the same location, and saw that the fungus had dried up into a hard, dark red mass. I read that witch’s butter usually does this, while orange jelly fungus dissolves into nothing. And it seemed to be on more of a deciduous branch…so…I changed my ID on iNat to witch’s butter. Gee, fungi can be confusing to identify.
I also got some crude pictures of a white-tailed deer while in a car. I could tell it was a male because it had antlers. White-tailed deer are very common in my area of Northern Virginia, so common that the local government encourages citizens to hunt them to reduce overpopulation. The altercation to the habitat in suburban areas have provided haven and shelter for white-tailed deer, with large lawns to graze in and no predators to threaten them. Historically, the deer would have been controlled by large mammalian predators such as pumas, black bears, and bobcats, but the arrival of humans have driven them out, which caused the population boom. Now, it is up to us to become the apex predators.
This week, I also saw another red-shouldered hawk. This one was also an adult. And this time, I got pictures of it! It perched on a branch for quite some time, wagging its checkered tail. It was a rather cooperative hawk. When I stepped closer and closer, it only looked mildly interested. I snapped a picture of it flying away as well, though that picture is low-quality.
Look at those wings! I would love to come across one of those primaries lying on the forest floor. Hawk feathers are a particular kind of majestic.
My teacher (@fredatwood on iNat), also gave me some feathers to identify. They came from Pendleton County, West Virginia, and they were a mix of contour/down feathers. They were very fluffy, a blueish gray at the base of the shaft, and white at the top. The feathers were also said to have been found in a pile, supposedly plucked off. It was some kind of passerine bird that is commonly hunted. I suspected they were blue jay feathers, as they were very similar to the images I found on Featherbase, but another person said they were Mourning Dove feathers. I’m not sure if they are, as I would think Mourning Dove feathers would be more a cream color, with a white bottom instead of a blueish gray, but we’ll have to see.
That’s my life update. I’ll be back with more content as soon as competitions slow down and the holidays come around (relaxation, finally!). I will leave this with pictures from my flight.
Don’t airplanes provide such unique views, even though I am fully aware they release an awful lot of carbon emissions? Signing off, Amber.