The Eastern Screech Owl, Megascops asio, is one of North America’s most common yet most variable owls. This little 6 to 9 inch owl can be red, grey, brown, or a combination — with varying amounts of white as well! Screech owls are nocturnal carnivores that live in open forests throughout the eastern half of the United States and neighboring areas of Canada and Mexico.
Tag Archives: forest
Tarsiers have some of the largest eyes relative to their body size of any animal. This comes at a cost, however — they cannot rotate their eyeballs within the sockets but must rotate their entire heads instead. The Philippine tarsier, Carlito syrichta, lives only on a handful of islands in the Philippines. See where the other species live.
The banded linsang, Prionodon linsang, is so elusive that most clear pictures of it feature a stuffed specimen, like the one below. Pictures of live linsangs tend to be either blurry or partially blocked by vegetation – however there are a few decent pics in the links below. Banded linsangs are the rarest species of civet and are sometimes called the tiger-civet due to its stripes or “bands”. These bands break up into spots along the sides, but are still distinct on the long tail. There are two species of linsang — one living on the mainland of southeast Asia, and this one living further south at the edge of the mainland and onto the islands of Indonesia and Malaysia. This species has a body about 15 inches long with a tail about 13 inches. Not much is known about its reproductive habits except that male offspring wander off away from mom soon after weaning, while females tend to hang around a bit longer. Linsangs are mostly carnivorous, eating birds, lizards, squirrels, and rats.
This full-length (59min) nature documentary by National Geographic Wild is in high definition and free on YouTube!
The southeast corner of Russia is home to some of the world’s most beautiful endangered wild cats. See these and much more while you watch this entertaining movie.
The American Bittersweet vine, Celastrus scandens, is native to central and eastern North America, but is unfortunately being replaced by a non-native invasive species, the Oriental Bittersweet, Celastrus orbiculatus. Our native species has alternate, oval, fine-toothed leaves and berry-like fruits that start out green, change to yellow then orange, then finally split open to reveal the 3-part fruit interior shown below. The fruits are poisonous to humans but eaten widely by birds and mammals, from wild turkeys to eastern cottontails. When growing up a young sapling, bittersweet vines can choke out and even kill their host, but typically it causes no real damage.
Most red-eyed vireos (Vireo olivaceus) breed in North America and overwinter in the Amazon basin of South America. During the breeding season, a single male may sing constantly, up to 10,000 times each day! Because of this and their canopy-feeding lifestyle, these little birds are often heard rather than seen, and their song is part of most forest soundtracks. If you can zoom in on an adult, you may be able to see its bright red eyes, but most commonly you will have to settle for its song and its olive green body with grey, black, and white head pattern for identification.
The crown-tipped coral fungus is white to yellowish and about an inch or two tall with little spikey crown-shaped tops on its “branches”. It grows on long-dead wood in North America and is edible, with a peppery taste that tends to disappear when cooked. The video below describes where to find this fungus species, how to identify it, and how to harvest and cook it. The links below the video feature more pics and species information.
Crown Tipped Coral Fungus
The Indonesian or Sunda Stink Badger, Mydaus javanensis, looks like a stocky, short-tailed skunk. It has a large white “cap” of fur on top of its head, with the warning coloration extending all the way down its back and onto its stubby little tail. These animals are related to skunks but have an even worse spray — dogs have been known to go blind and humans pass out from the force of the milky green liquid! Making this animal even more unique, it has a snout like a pig! Learn more using the links below.
The Green Spore Parasol mushroom, Chlorophyllum molybdites, is poisonous and can often grow in backyards and forest “fairy rings”. Watch the video and explore the links below to educate yourself and your loved ones about this common fungi.
POISONOUS Green Spore
The honey locust tree, Gleditsia triacanthos, is easily identified by its combination of thorns, long narrow compound leaves, and long curly seedpods. Found in the eastern United States, this species is actually a legume, in the family Fabaceae. Its long seedpods resemble beans and peas, which are more familiar legumes. Honey locust pods start out green and eventually turn crisp and dark brown, growing up to about 7 inches long. The pods are sometimes eaten by livestock, which digest the pulp and excrete the seeds. Thorns are found on both the trunk and branches of this tree species, again starting out green, but then turning red, and eventually grey. Leaves of honey locust are pinnately divided, similar to mesquite and acacia.
The tiny Australian marsupial Western Pygmy Possum (Cercartetus concinnus) is unique among its relatives in that it has a cinnamon colored coat (rather than grey) and bright white underside. The females carry up to 6 young in their pouch, weaning them after 50 days and miraculously giving birth to the next litter just 2 days later! Amazingly, the mother’s teats shrink during the 2 day period and the milk changes to include more colostrum. As adults, these southern Australian marsupials eat nectar and pollen. Their long prehensile tails are covered with scales rather than hair and help them dangle from plant stems to reach their food sources.
This unique Superfamily of insects, the Cercopoidea, has nymphs that encase themselves in what looks like spit (= spittlebugs) in order to protect them from heat and cold as well as from predators and parasites. The young insects use plant juices to make their own acrid concoctions. As adults, these insects can hop many times their length, thus gaining them the alternative name, Froghoppers. Click the links below the pic for more pics and info on these resourceful bugs!
Did you know that BLUE mushrooms grow in America?
Click the pic for MORE pics (and click “Detail” at the top of that page for more info on this species!)