Weekend Wildlife (and flowers too)

There hasn’t been much time for gardening or blogging recently, but I stole a few hours this weekend to rescue and transplant trilliums, rejuvenate a container, and simply enjoy the spring garden.

Friday provided a quick look at one of the resident red-shouldered hawks that live along the Reedy River.  I barely managed to grab my camera for a handful of photos before it saw me at the window and leapt from its perch in a black walnut tree.


Red-shouldered hawk

Though similar, this bird of prey is smaller than the red-tailed hawk and is easy to identify by its black tail with narrow white bands.


On Saturday, while moving Sweet Betsy trilliums (T. cuneatum) from a soon-to-be utilized city easement at the bottom of our property, I came across a small worm snake (Carphophis ameonus) in the leaf litter.  It was tiny, but not shy about its displeasure, which it expressed with non-stop writhing and, once, by biting my glove.


Worm snake


Notice the pink underbelly, which you can just see in the neck region.

I see these little snakes, which grow just a foot in length, in the garden quite often and they always make me smile.  I’m a bit worried I haven’t seen any black snakes yet, but perhaps it’s still a bit early.


Trillium cuneatum

Most of the trilliums were moved with as much soil around their roots as possible, but I shook these free so you could get a look at their rhizomes.  The smaller, which lost its foliage in digging, was positioned against the larger plant.


Common five-lined skink

Later, while pulling violas from a container, I unearthed a sleeping five-lined skink (Plestiodon fasciatus).  This quick-footed creature is impossible to catch when fully awake, so I was lucky to hold it for a photo.  Minutes later I saw it had already found a friend and was cavorting in the rock wall, so no harm done.

Finally, here a few favorite blooms to brighten your day.  I hope you’re enjoying a spring as beautiful as the one we are having here!


Tulips on the front stoop



Spanish bluebells


And mayapples (Podophyllum) in the woodland, just beginning to flower





36 thoughts on “Weekend Wildlife (and flowers too)

  1. johnvic8

    One might say you are a brave one. The hawk photos are marvelous. I ha done close by a few years ago and fumbled with my camera just long enough for it to fly away. Alas.

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      John–Lucky me, I took about 6 photos and these 2 were in focus. I used full zoom, which is tricky. The hawk was much further away than it looks in these photos.

  2. Pauline

    Definitely a wildlife weekend, great photos too! I like the fact that we share our gardens with the creatures that were here long before us, it is possible to live side by side.

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Jessica–I was very excited about the hawk and thrilled that 2 of 6 photos were in fairly sharp focus. My husband took about 20 photos of the worm snake, but it just wouldn’t hold still and they didn’t work out nearly as well.

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Dorris–But you have some very sweet little birds I always admire when I’m in the UK. When a friend was here from Cumbria, I had great fun naming the birds at the feeder and sharing his excitement at seeing so many species for the first time.

  3. Pingback: Weekend Wildlife (and flowers too) — Hortitopia – Jenny Bee Greenthumb Gardening

  4. Beth Jimenez

    Your photographs are “second to none” and I always learn something from your posts.
    Thanks for sharing so much of your knowledge….botanical and zoological.

      1. Beth Jimenez

        Not sure where we’re going yet but hope to put something together for the fall…

  5. Eliza Waters

    You have special wild friends in your garden, I’m glad to see. I bet the river attracts many, as does ours. Water equals life!
    So nice to see your tulips, as we are having a snowstorm today with 6 inches already on the ground and a few more hours to go. This is more snow than any storm we had this winter – go figure!

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Eliza–I heard about your storm. Talked to a friend tonight who just got home from a cruise but lives in Marlborough and she is beyond feed up with the return of cold weather.

  6. pbmgarden

    I’m excited to see the trillium in detail. Hope your transplants all do well. I often see UK gardeners worried about Spanish bluebells, which crowd their English bluebells. Maybe this is a silly question but is it safe to plant Spanish bluebells here? My garden club even sold them last year for a fundraiser, but I was hesitant. I’d love to get some established.

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Susie–the bluebells here predate me, but I would say they have decreased slightly since my arrival 5 years ago. They are planted in dry shade; I believe they are more dangerous in wet areas. They are invasive in some Mid-Atlantic states and Northwest areas such as Portland and Seattle.

  7. Julie

    Marian, I’m not sure I could hold a snake, no matter how young it was or if I there were stout gloves involved either. Can I ask what a city easement is, its not an expression I have heard before.

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Julie–It means the city has right of way across a designated part of our property. Believe it or not, the city sewer line runs near the river and workers have notified us they will be bringing in heavy equipment for some repairs soon. So, I’m digging up all the natives in “safe” areas on the lower terrace (away from invasive plants) and moving them up the hillside so they are out of harm’s way.

  8. fernwoodnursery

    Marion, way ahead of us there, great to know what’s coming along here in the north. So wonderful to be transplanting the trillium! Will they all go into your garden? Awesome! A couple of years ago we found a red-shouldered hawk that had been hit by a car, it had remained long after it should have migrated. Fortunately, we have an amazing bird rehabilitation facility nearby, several months later we were able to go back and release him. Very cool! Happy Spring to you , Marion!

  9. Marian St.Clair Post author

    Denise–I’ve given a few clumps of trilliums to two gardening friends in the neighborhood, but the rest are staying with me. We are having a cold spell too. Forecast for tonight is 38, so fingers crossed we have enough breeze to prevent frost.

  10. Pat Klint

    I have enjoy the great information and will be using some of it. I have A SHADED AREA ON ONE SIDE OF MY HOUSE. DOES ANYONE HAVE SOME IDEAS AS TO WHAT i SHOULD PLANT?


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