Nature Notes

clouded sulphur butterfly


Clouded sulphur butterfly

January 17, 2022


By Annie Reid
Westborough Community Land Trust

WCLT’s Annual Nature Notes Quiz

striped skunk


Striped skunk

American redstart


American redstart

red russula mushroom


Red russula mushroom

Canada lily


Canada lily

Are you like so many of us, sitting indoors as the weather bounces between deep-freeze days and surprisingly spring-like days? With names handed down to us from yesteryear, the wolf moon (January’s full moon) and the snow moon (February’s full moon) remind us of winter hardships for wild animals, plants, and people. But never mind! Groundhog Day (February 2) marks the halfway point to spring. Give yourself something to look forward to by taking the Westborough Community Land Trust’s annual quiz (below) about animals and plants from 2021’s Nature Notes. Even if WCLT’s Nature Notes column is new to you, you might know the answers.

When you do get outside, remember that there’s plenty to see in nature in January and February. Browse the articles listed in WCLT’s online monthly Nature Notes index:

Choose your answers from the drop down lists. Check your answers by clicking the "Show Answers" button. The answer page will contain links to the 2021 “Nature Notes” columns so you can re-read them as a way of preparing to enjoy nature in 2022.

Match these descriptions with possible answers from the list below:

1.   Watch – or sniff – for me in mid-February, around Valentine’s Day, when I may be out and about in search of a mate.

2.   I may look sort of like a prehistoric creature, but I return to Massachusetts swamps every spring to nest and raise my young.

3.   Look for my small white blossoms in spring and my yellow roots in fall.

4.   I’m a warbler that nests in our local area, rather than just passing through, and you might spot me and hear my song around vine-covered trees near water.

5.   I’m a shy native woodland wildflower whose roots once provided food for Native Americans, but today I’m a candidate for a wildflower garden due to my interesting leaves, blossoms, berries, root, and history of medicinal use.

6.   You’ll be lucky to spot me in woods and along roads and trails before the deer eat my large yellow, down-turned blossoms.

7.   I’m a wild shrub with spikes of tiny white flowers that give off an alluring aroma and provide ample nectar to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators in mid-summer.

8.   I’m yellow – though sometimes white – and you can spot me flying in fields and gardens from April through November, especially if there’s white clover around.

9.   I have a red cap, and you can find me near oaks, beeches, or pines in late summer and fall.

10.   You might think of hot dogs on a stick when you see me in local marshes, but I’m building material and food for muskrats and other wild creatures, sometimes even for humans.

Possible answers:
- American redstart (Setophaga ruticilla)
- Broad-leaf cattail (Typha latifolia)
- Canada lily (Lilium canadense)
- Clouded sulphur butterfly (Colias philodice)
- Great blue heron (Ardea herodias)
- Indian cucumber root (Medeola virginiana)
- Red russula mushroom (genus Russula)
- Striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis)
- Sweet pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia)
- Three-leaved goldthread (Coptis trifolia, Coptis groenlandica), canker root

Report your own local nature sightings (or check out what others have seen) on WCLT's Facebook page! Find more information about enjoying nature in Westborough, including trail maps and a calendar of events, at the WCLT website

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