Snead Farm is a relaxing place to stop for a bit and investigate some of the nature around. In one of the springs in Snead Farm meadow we found a couple frogs hanging out.
This first one was so still – floating in this position for 10 minutes! I think I saw it blink once. We tried to observe the frogs quietly, but it was probably intimidated by us watching it.
Green Frogs, or Lithobates clamitans, inhabit all of Virginia and are native to the state. They like to live in shallow fresh water, such as the freshwater spring we found them in. They can also live in streams, ditches, and on the edges of ponds. Their average size is 2.3 – 3.5 inches long.
I identified them by the green tinge around their mouths and their light patterning.
Shenandoah National Park has an amphibians list of frogs and salamanders you can find in the park that’s useful.
After a little while, we left the meadow and continued down the forest path. It was great to see a few wildflowers already growing.
Plaintainleaf Pussytoes, Woman’s Tobacco, or Antennaria plantaginifolia, is a member of the Aster Family (Asteraceae) and blooms April to June. It favors dry open woodlands, meadows, and rocky places. A native plant, it grows throughout the eastern and central United States. The name comes from how the furry flower head resemble a cat’s paw.
Here you see them just starting to bloom. They can grow to be 6 inches high.
I just love the white woolly buds!
Mouse-ear Chickweed, or Cerastium fontanum, is a member of the Carnation Family (Caryophyllaceae) and blooms March to September. This plant likes to grow in waste places, fields, and by roadsides. Originally introduced from Europe, it now grows throughout North America. The name comes from its fuzzy leaves.
The book that I often reference for researching wildflowers, The National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, says they bloom May to September, but the fact that they were blooming is evidence to the contrary. I also saw these tiny flowers growing on another trail the following weekend. I’m not sure why they are blooming so early.