Nature Notes

pink lady’s slipper


Pink lady’s slipper

January 17, 2023


By Annie Reid
Westborough Community Land Trust

WCLT’s Annual Nature Notes Quiz

red-bellied woodpecker


Red-bellied woodpecker

great spangled fritillary


Great spangled fritillary

Destroying angel mushroom


Destroying angel mushroom

The first two weeks of the new year were like a January thaw, with rain and some temperatures around 50 F, thanks probably to a changing climate. A bit of light snow was enough to show animal tracks – squirrels, mice, rabbits, deer, dogs and cats. No matter what winter brings next, go outside when you can. Allow your senses to see, hear, feel, and smell the great out-of-doors. Doing so is good for your health (dress appropriately) and mood.

Get ready to explore nature in 2023 by taking the Westborough Community Land Trust’s annual Nature Notes quiz (below) about wild lives described in 2022’s Nature Notes. Even if Nature Notes is new to you, you might know the answers.

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 2022 “Nature Notes” columns so you can re-read them as a way of preparing to enjoy nature in 2023.

If all or most of your answers are correct, email us your name (or your group’s name if a class or scout troop or other group is answering the quiz) at We'll be pleased to congratulate the top scorers in a future issue of the Westborough News.

For more about what nature offers in January and February, browse the articles listed in WCLT’s online monthly Nature Notes index:

Match these descriptions with possible answers from the list below:

1.   I’m named for the color hidden on my belly, but you’ll recognize me when you see this color on my head instead.

2.   I’m a masked woodland creature who can be frozen solid during the winter but revives in spring to be heard and seen at vernal pools.

3.   Dead trees in the standing water of swamps and ponds are my chosen nesting places.

4.   My other name is moccasin flower, and you can look for me in woods with pines around Memorial Day.

5.   We are harmless, “cold-blooded” creatures, and you might spot us warming up as we bask in the sun on warm rocks or sunny trail-sides in springtime.

6.   Don’t mistake me for a monarch – I’m a large orange butterfly but with silver spots on my wings, and I visit flowers in gardens and fields in summer.

7.   If you notice a profusion of small yellow blossoms on sandy shores of a local pond when the water is low in late summer, you’re looking at me.

8.   I’m bright yellow and arrive in spring to sing and nest near water.

9.   I’m the most poisonous mushroom you can find in our area, with deadly toxins that are not changed by cooking or drying.

10.   I’m large and flashy, but good at running and hiding from predators and hunters, and well suited to survive many of winter’s hardships.

Possible answers:
- destroying angel (Amanita bisporigera/Amanita virosa)
- garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) or northern water snake (Nerodia sipedon)
- golden hedge-hyssop or golden pert (Gratiola aurea)
- great blue heron (Ardea herodias)
- great spangled fritillary (Speyeria cybele)
- pink lady’s slipper (Cypripedium acaule)
- red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)
- ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)
- wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus, Rana sylvatica)
- yellow warbler (Setophaga petechia, Dendroica petechia)

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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More Nature Notes:
Date index
Month (January)
Common name index
Scientific name index
Category index