Ever wonder what the dance floor looks like after a black vulture party?

Bird black vultures

Ever wonder what the floor looks like after a dozen or so black vultures have gone home after the dance was over?

 

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“Fuzzy-Wuzzy was a…”?

Tree magnolia bud fur

In this case, Fuzzy Wuzzy was a magnolia bud! Spring must be coming soon! But now that I take the time to recall the complete nursery rhyme, I guess it isn’t appropriate… “Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear! Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair! So Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t very fuzzy, was he?” Oh dear… Back to the drawing board…

It’s fuzzy but it’s Spidey!

So exciting to open my kitchen door on 1/27/18 and see my exit blocked by a dangling spider! It is climbing up its web to a Chinese fir. Seems like a warm January though it is actually average. I assume many of you are happily enjoying this most bug-free time of year. For that reason I haven’t shown you the beetles I saw on 1/1/18, snuggled up under dead tree bark, in diapause. But I plan to share them eventually…

Tundra swan requires a runway.

Bird tundra swan takeoff

Juvenile tundra swan required a runway to take off from the pond!  I am so used to ducks popping up from the pond like corks that I was holding my camera in wrong position to capture the takeoff.  You can tell it’s a juvenile because the head is gray.

bird tundra swan 2

Swan was paddling around on the pond, totally unaware that I was sneaking up on it with all the stealth a senior citizen can muster.

These shots show the bird continuing to climb. To me the most interesting thing to observe here is the black edge at the end of the tail feathers. Those are the swan’s enormous black feet!

Woolly Bear Wear, 2017

What the well-dressed woolly bear is wearing this year! Follow them down the runway to select your favorite outfit for Fall 2017!

insect wooly bear 5insect wooly bear 4

The woolly bear caterpillar—also called woolly worm and fuzzy worm—has the reputation of being able to forecast the coming winter weather. Whether this is fact or folklore, learn more about this legendary caterpillar and how to “read” the worm.

Here’s the legend: The Woolly Bear caterpillar has 13 distinct segments of either rusty brown or black. The wider the rusty brown sections (or the more brown segments there are), the milder the coming winter will be. The more black there is, the more severe the winter.

How the Woolly Bear Caterpillar Became “Famous”

  • In the fall of 1948, Dr. C. H. Curran, curator of insects at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, took his wife 40 miles north of the city to Bear Mountain State Park to look at woolly bear caterpillars.
  • Dr. Curran collected as many caterpillars as he could in a day, determined the average number of reddish-brown segments, and forecast the coming winter weather through a reporter friend at The New York Herald Tribune.
  • Dr. Curran’s experiment, which he continued over the next eight years, attempted to prove scientifically a weather rule of thumb that was as old as the hills around Bear Mountain. The resulting publicity made the woolly worm the most recognizable caterpillar in North America.

 

What could possibly happen in 15 minutes?

What could possibly happen in 15 minutes? The photos above were taken at 5 PM and 5:15 PM. Try it yourself. Take a photo of anything. Then take a photo of the same thing 15 minutes later. What has changed? Amazing! Please let me know what you chose to photograph. (Photos were taken 2/8/17)

Popcorn or pollen?!

flower hibiscus 1

Doesn’t the pollen look like popcorn? Hibiscus must be an ancient plant. The flowers are amazing!  The red circles are the stigmas and they are perched on the styles (female parts) while the popcorn is the anther perched on the filament (male parts). Wouldn’t you know the popcorn is male? The anther produces pollen ( male reproductive cells). Now you know who to blame for all that sneezing!

flower hibiscus 2

Morning photo to compare with evening photo above.

flower hibiscus 3

Is that dramatic or what?! You don’t need a magnifying glass to study this plant’s reproductive parts, just a comfortable bench and an iced tea.