Nature Notes: WCLT’s annual Nature Notes quiz


Nature Notes: WCLT’s annual Nature Notes quiz
Red-bellied woodpecker (Photo/Courtesy Garry Kessler)

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.

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 names in the list that follows:

  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 names:

destroying angel (Amanita bisporigera/Amanita virosa)

garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) and/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 sylvaticusRana sylvatica)

yellow warbler (Setophaga petechia, Dendroica petechia)

Nature Notes Answer Key

Here are the answers to the Nature Notes quiz. You can also check out past Nature Notes columns on the WCLT website at

  1. red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)

“Red-bellied woodpeckers are thriving” March 13, 2022

  1. wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticusRana sylvatica)

“Vernal pool season” March 22, 2022

  1. great blue heron (Ardea herodias)

“Nesting herons” April 22, 2022

  1. pink lady’s slipper (Cypripedium acaule)

“Wild orchids in our woods” May 24, 2022

Nature Notes: WCLT’s annual Nature Notes quiz
Pink lady’s slipper (Photo/Courtesy Garry Kessler)
  1. garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) or northern water snake (Nerodia sipedon)

“Our local snakes are nothing to fear” June 22, 2022

  1. great spangled fritillary (Speyeria cybele)

“Spangled butterflies in local fields and gardens” July 21, 2022

Nature Notes: WCLT’s annual Nature Notes quiz
Great spangled fritillary (Photo/Courtesy Garry Kessler)
  1. golden hedge-hyssop or golden pert (Gratiola aurea)

“A trip to the shore” August 17, 2022

  1. yellow warbler (Setophaga petechia, Dendroica petechia)

“Celebrating nature’s special sites & special sights” September 16, 2022

  1. destroying angel (Amanita bisporigera/Amanita virosa)

“Connecting with wild mushrooms” October 19, 2022

Nature Notes: WCLT’s annual Nature Notes quiz
Destroying angel mushroom (Photo/Courtesy Garry Kessler)
  1. ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)

“Fall’s wild pheasants” November 15, 2022

Do you know that Westborough has 60 miles of trails, and WCLT has trail maps? The Westborough Community Land Trust (WCLT) preserves, protects, and promotes open space in Westborough (  and