Nature-Friends at Parnassus: Can You Help Us Make More?

By Amethyst

Every time we visit Parnassus, we make new nature-friends. The more we make, the more about them we notice. For example, how different species of plants grow or how healthy [or unhealthy =( ] our trees are.  It took months of observation before I realized the reason for all the bunches of trees growing right together was a big forest fire many years ago – something a neighbor then confirmed.

Animals friends are the most exciting to meet, of course. No new ones in recent days, though. We are not always too great at identifying all species, but we are getting better. We’d love your help!

New Friends Recently Identified:

-About 100 mushroom friends, including…

Russula Silvicola  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russula_silvicola

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…this mushroom friend, which doesn’t exist according to our book (this is common, and probably not actually the book’s fault)

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…and these mushroom friends, for whom we haven’t had the time (or, frankly, the ability) to identify yet. Any ideas?

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Tree Friends…

…Black Maple (Red Maple?) and Mountain Maple: Hooray! We have maple trees! We’ll see if we can tap any of them for syrup, though…

Previously-Discovered Friends at Parnassus:

Tree Friends: Chestnut Oak, Pin Oak, Chinkapin Oak, White Oak, Loblolly Pine, Sassafras, Sycamore, White Walnut (Butternut), Pecan, Flowering Dogwood

Fruiting Plant Friends: Blueberry, Blackberry, Raspberry, Concord Grape

Mammal Friends: White Tailed Deer (and fawns!), Squirrel, Chipmunk, Deer Mouse, Woodland Jumping Mouse

Bird Friends: Scarlet Tanager, Wood Thrush, Whippoorwill, Crow, Raven, Red Headed Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Robin, Great Horned Owl, Cardinal, Turkey Vulture

Reptile/Amphibian/Crustacean Friends: Eastern Box Turtle, Five-lined Skink, Fence Sitting Lizard, Common Toad, Crayfish

Insect Friends: Hoverfly, Honeybee, Bumblebee, White-Lipped Forest Snail (?) (and a lot more buggies, but we aren’t really friends, if we’re being honest here)

On the road on the way out of Parnassus going toward Paw Paw, West Virginia (yes, that is a real place) is Vulture Manor (that’s not a real place, but we gave it that name even before this week). We have previously passed this creepy cracked-in-half house and seen several vultures perched on its roofline or circling above. When we drove past it last week, no fewer than fifteen full-sized turkey vultures emerged and flew away before we could snap this photo. These are the largest birds either of us has ever seen in the wild.

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It will take a village to catalog all the creatures on Parnassus. Clearly, mushrooms are abundant, but there are plenty of birds, snakes, and other animals we have seen evidence of but haven’t been able to identify. If you are a bird watcher, a snake-charmer, or just a casual friend of nature, we’d love your help. Building community of all kinds is what Parnassus is all about.

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