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.
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This uniquely patterned flower goes by several names including Checkered Lily, Snake’s Head Fritillary, and Guinea Hen Flower. It is Fritillaria meleagris, the genus name meaning (basically) checkered and the species name referring to guinea fowl. This plant is native to Eurasia from the UK across into western Russia. It is also widely grown as a spring bulb in gardens all across the USA. Certainly planting a few of these bulbs would provide a new conversation starter for any garden!
The Natural Wall is a rock formation in northern Michigan which appears man-made due to its brick-like structure. Lying along the Keweenaw Fault in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where the land juts out into Lake Superior just south of Canada, this is a very rare near-vertical slope of natural sandstone. Visitors can trek along the riverbank to access the site, but are advised that the trip may entail traversing mud and large water puddles, along with some rocky terrain. Visit the sites below for more pics and directions to the site — but be aware that the area is private rather than public land.
Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) is a flowering shrub or small tree native to China and Korea and cultivated widely in the southeastern United States, Australia, and elsewhere. It has one of the longest flowering seasons, up to 4 months of brilliant summer flowers. There are several varieties of this plant, many which are named after Native American tribes. The flowers can be white, purple, red, or a wide variety of pinkish colors.
The Silk Tassel Bush, Garrya elliptica, is a serpentine endemic plant — meaning it can grow on soils that (for one thing) contain high concentrations of chromium and nickel.
This is truly a heavy metal plant! 😀
It is native to the West coast of the USA — California and Oregon. Check out the links below the pic for closeups of those crazy dangling flowers!