Archivos de diario de mayo 2020

15 de mayo de 2020

"And the song of birds filled the air."

Today was absolutely beautiful!! Around 5 in the evening I decided to go back to the town park ,Ingelside to explore the habitat there. It was a semi-mature mixed forest with lots of understory and bushes, a small field with scattered trees and a pond. There were maples, dogwoods, oaks, birch and alder trees. For other plants there were honey suckles, spindles, serviceberry,ferns, sumac and barberry plus much more. For flowers there were ground ivy, canada may flowers, violets, azure bluets, and dandelions along with the flowers of the trees. I did not see many mammals but I did see a chipmunk and a rabbit however I am sure there is more there at earlier or later hours. The pond wasn't really accessible but I did see red winged blackbirds and some geese down near the water however I plan to go back and explore near the water some more. There were 25 bird species today and the yellow rumped warblers were flitting everywhere. I did manage to get some lovely pictures but gave myself warbler neck in the process (ouch). I do hope to more thoroughly travel the trails and explore the water more but I had to return home after spending a hour there. I found some insects on the barberry flowers, a couple of fuzzy bumble bees and a thread waisted wasp, and a tiny blue butterfly that would barely hold still for me to identify. I am really becoming more attentive to the things around me and I am trying harder to focus on plants and insects as much as I do birds but it is quite hard, haha but this class is helping me a lot.

Ingresado el 15 de mayo de 2020 por jobird jobird | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

07 de mayo de 2020

morning walk

May 7, 2020

Early morning walk seeking birds at Heard Field, Wayland. Looking out over a farm field with grasses barely a foot high I see only green, but the field is singing! I hear from everywhere on the field a recognizably chaotic and energized song like the sound of R2D2 in Star Wars – the bobolinks are back! I see them then perched in trees on the side or popping up from the field, the males with their white caped backs and beige hairdo on their heads. All the way from Argentina to breed in Wayland, Massachusetts.

Walking I listen. There are songs of Bobolinks, Baltimore Orioles, Rose breasted grosbeaks, song sparrows, goldfinch, red winged blackbirds , black and white, yellow, common yellow throat and yellow rumped warblers - even a Great Crested Flycatcher. I found I couldn't really identify them all together in a chorus. Each time I listened to one or two, the others were not in my attention. Of course there was hearing birds and seeing birds (except the rose breasted grosbeak), and then there were trees and herbaceous plants, shrubs and ferns… While I notice a lot more than I would have 10 years ago, I'm aware there is so much more to notice, even on these paths I've walked so often.

Then there's the capacity of the mind….. being an observant naturalist is like a mindfulness exercise. I find I'm noticing something and the next thing you know I'm thinking about what I will eat because I'm hungry. I notice one thing and Bruce, my husband, is pointing out something entirely different to me. My little human brain can't take it all in, at least not all at once. The diversity of all this life in many forms is amazingly and wonderfully too much.

Ingresado el 07 de mayo de 2020 por maryjb maryjb | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Strawberries for Lunch

As I was taking a stroll along a creek, I was going purposely slow to watch the water swirl around the rocks. When I walked closer to a nearby bushy area, I spotted two quick flashes of gray in the corner of my eyes. I stood still and was lucky enough to observe the one bird that stuck around. I was close enough to get a good shoot, and iNaturalist helped me identify it as a gray catbird. I had never heard of this type of bird. I love the name!
I was fascinated watching the gray catbird hop around the ground. Someone had left food scraps in the bush, and the gray catbird was pecking at a strawberry that had been left. I noticed the bird pushing it's tail out, and I wondered if this had to do with how it was moving it's head. After doing some research, I found out that it is common for gray catbirds to use tail flicking for locomotion. This movement can vary from a quick upward or downward flick to a circular motion ( Another behavior I observed that I found to be a common trait of the gray catbird was flipping of leaves. As I suspected (and was later confirmed), the catbird flips leaves to uncover insects.
All because I took a few moments to slow down, I got to see and learn about a new type of bird! I will now be interested in looking out for them in the future.

Ingresado el 07 de mayo de 2020 por juliacohen5 juliacohen5 | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario

01 de mayo de 2020

Quick video on how to use the journal

Hi all,
Here is the link to a quick video I made, which shows how to make a journal entry and how to comment on somebody's journal post.
Comment below if you have questions.

Ingresado el 01 de mayo de 2020 por fsut fsut | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

16 de mayo de 2020

surprise observation

the other day I was out looking for birds with my husband, Bruce, and 2 friends. We'd been out for about 3 hours and drove to a new location. Where we parked there was a long grassy hill down to a wetland at a distance. With binoculars we could identify canada geese and a Great Blue Heron. there was something else in the water, dark below and on top with a patch of orange/red between. What was it? A duck with it's bill tucked in? what duck would have those colors. It's migration so you never know what might drop in. We got a scope out of the car for a better view. then we saw exactly what we'd been looking at. It was 2 painted turtles on top of each other on a rock. the top turtle was slanted back, so it's bottom carapace was showing, accounting for the color.

Ingresado el 16 de mayo de 2020 por maryjb maryjb | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Last week- Biodiversity

I missed the posting portion of the assignments but i figured, better late than never!-
I didn't have much time since the weather was very cold and rainy but I did finally get out and enjoy exploring my yard on Monday. In doing so, I noticed some plants that I haven't seen in a long time. I used to know my property like the back of my hand but as I got older, priorities change. I felt like I was rediscovering things and memories came flooding back. I rediscovered the three cultivated blueberry bushes that have been neglected and forgotten throughout the years. I also found the wild strawberry plants scattered around the front lawn that are currently yielding flowers. I also came across a patch of lowbush blueberry that always yields small berries full of flavor in late summer. These rediscoveries got me thinking about cultivated vs. native/naturally occurring species on my property. I had flashbacks of blueberry picking and thought about the many rows of bushes that were the same height and were all uniformed. I'm sure they were managed for pests and herbicides were most likely used. I also thought about the diversity that was before me.

The biodiversity that I knew to be present includes various flying insects, some pollinators, ants, invasive gypsy moths that come around every year and the birds that like to hang out around the lowbush blueberries.

Looking at this with a more anthropocentric point of view, I can see that these crops are always in high demand and will need to meet quantity expectations when the season comes around. The cultivated crops must have a large output and in turn, the crop has specific categories that is comparable to wild crop. I.E. farmed blueberries are much bigger in size and typically has less flavor, while wild blueberries are much smaller but packs a lot more flavor. The difference in these are evident in strawberries as well, (from my personal experience.)

Ingresado el 16 de mayo de 2020 por sophie342 sophie342 | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

09 de mayo de 2020

Grasshopper Surprise with a Few Butterflies

On Thursday, when it was very temperate and sunny, I went outside to start checking my grass for more "weeds" I could identify. I was walking around, very carefully keeping my eyes on the ground for a new one I hadn't observed yet, and I rounded my house to the front yard that slopes all the way down to my busy street. This area gets full sun, and I tend to ignore it since the slope prevents me from doing much with it, and makes it a little more difficult to traverse.

I immediately began to notice lots of sudden buzzing noises as I stepped, and a 1 inch bug would zip away from the ground a few feet ahead every time I stepped forward. There were lots of grasshoppers all over the slope, enjoying the full sun of this area, and getting spooked by me moving through! I was able to see that they were all around one inch or so, and some were a grassy green while others were more tan. They blended it so well with my less than healthy lawn, and would jump away so quickly I couldn't get a closer look. I wanted so badly to inspect them more closely and maybe even get a photo so I could try to identify the type of grasshopper they were, and I'm sure my chasing grasshoppers around the front lawn was an amusing sight for the neighbors and folks driving by!

I never got close enough, but while hunting these fun little insects I stumbled upon a tiny American Copper butterfly, and was over the moon excited! Since my yard doesn't border woods or have much for trees, I don't have the pleasure of seeing Mourning Cloaks or Eastern Commas in the spring, although I have had many Cabbage Whites since March. This dime-sized American Copper was the first non-Cabbage White butterfly I had seen this season in my yard, and it was so pretty and pristine looking. It was definitely a relatively freshly eclosed butterfly, with no signs of wear and tear on its wings yet (I need to look into what their host plant is, I would love to more fully support these lovely insects in my yard). I followed it along, watching it land on violets and Star of Bethlehem flowers for awhile, until something told me to look up.

Higher up above my yard I saw a lazily gliding flash of orange turning the corner around my house. My first thought was "Oh my gosh, it's an early Monarch!", and I took off running after it hoping to be able to confirm this sighting (there have been Monarch sightings in Connecticut already, and they did leave Mexico a little early, so this didn't seem too far-fetched). I caught another far off glimpse of it before it went through my neighbor's yard and further away into the neighborhood, but unfortunately not good enough to confirm my suspicion that it was indeed a Monarch. It seemed to have that lazy, gliding kind of flight that Monarchs have (compared to faster fluttering of some others), and it did seem to be the correct size. But I am not confident enough in the sighting to want to submit it to Journey North, I'll just continue to watch hoping to see one I can confirm.

Coming back around the corner to my backyard, looking around to see if I could find any further fluttering friends, a flash of yellow in one of my raised beds caught my eye. The first of the Eastern Black Swallowtails that wintered over had emerged from its chrysalis! I protect them in my shed over the winter, and put them back out near the fennel in my garden they lived their caterpillar lives on in the spring once it's growing again, to emerge when they're ready. This wasn't the earliest I had had one emerge, in fact last year the first emerged on May 9th. This new swallowtail was definitely a male, with much more prominent yellow markings on his inner hind wings, and very little blue. It was a little on the smaller side, not as big as some of the mid-summer ones get, but it seemed quite healthy. It was so wonderful to see, I was so excited for all the butterfly experiences my little yard had already brought me so early in the season.

I thought I was going to be continuing to document the biodiversity of plant life in my yard that day, and ended up with some fun insect discoveries instead!

Ingresado el 09 de mayo de 2020 por danivaill danivaill | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

Hoping for More Grasshoppers, Finding Something New Instead

On Friday I went back out earlier in the day before it started to rain, when the sun was in and out of the clouds and the breeze was a little higher than the day before. I immediately went to my sloped front lawn hoping to get closer to some of the many grasshoppers I saw the day before (but had eluded my close inspection). Even though there SO MANY on Thursday hopping all over the place, not a single one buzzed and leapt away as I walked through the yard. Where did they go? Were they only out the day before because the sun was strong and warm? I know that insects are cold-blooded, and perhaps these grasshoppers needed more warmth to get them active and hopping about again.

I did get to see a tiny American Copper butterfly again in the same area as the day before, flying low to the ground around the same flowers. I don't know for sure it was the same one, but it did seem to be just as pristine as the one I saw Thursday.

I went back up the slope of my yard to an area just between my rhododendron bush/tree and a shrub, and came across a swarm of tiny insects just above the ground. As I moved through they would fly a little, landing again in the grass. I had never noticed or paid attention to these before, and they looked kind of like miniature dragonflies when I got closer (around a centimeter in length). I began to notice some mating, and thought at first it was a different bug because one seemed to have redder legs, different eyes, and held its wings differently, but I noticed the other was definitely the same insect I first observed. I researched this further online after identifying it as Bibio vestitus, a type of March Fly, through iNaturalist, and the females can have redder legs than the males. In the photos I saw, there were also some with their wings closed over their bodies that looked much more like the mating one I had seen, and smaller eyes. I love when there's sexual dimorphism, it makes identification a little trickier, but the challenge is fun!

Ingresado el 09 de mayo de 2020 por danivaill danivaill | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

03 de mayo de 2020

Noticing backyard "weeds"

I was wandering around my (small) yard, taking notice of what was coming up in my gardens. I decided to start to pay attention to the weeds as well as the things I intentionally planted, rather than just ripping them out of the ground and tossing them aside.

Uploading some of these plants to iNaturalist helped me to identify and learn a little more about these things that are trying to grow in my yard (many against my wishes). I noticed the differently shaped leaves on each, paying more attention to them than I had ever before as I tried to figure out what they were.

One of the plants that has been especially abundant in my yard over the years is currently covered in lots of tiny, two-lipped, pinkish-purple flowers (and actually looks kind of pretty), and I learned that it's Ground Ivy. It's in the mint family, and sure enough, when I crushed a scalloped leaf between my fingers I got a faint mint-like scent from it. I researched it a little further, and learned that although it is indeed invasive (I knew that part already!), it also has some past medicinal and food uses. I won't be eating it myself since it can be toxic, but I began to have a new appreciation for this pretty little weed that I used to mindlessly rip out of the ground.

Ingresado el 03 de mayo de 2020 por danivaill danivaill | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

10 de mayo de 2020

Observations from 5/2/20

On Saturday, May 2nd, I finished my shift at work and decided to talk a walk in the woods behind the facility. The weather was perfect. The temperature was about 55 degrees F and there were only a few wisps of clouds in the sky. There was also a slight cool breeze that would blow periodically. Once I entered the woods and was among the shadows, I felt a slight drop in temperature. To me, the conditions couldn't have been better. My walk lasted from about 9:45 AM to 11:05 AM.

I started down an old cart path that is still generally clear but is beginning to grow in. It is covered in leaf litter and may not be overrun with plants yet because it is likely some type of gravel construction and is fairly thick. I began to walk and noticed something shiny off to my left. I decided to get off the path and poke into the woods to figure out what I was looking at. Turns out, I found half of an old extension ladder. I freed the ladder and tossed it back onto the path so I could remove it from the woods on my way out. Unfortunately, this was not the only sign of human activity that I spotted while on my walk. I then spotted some water through the trees and decided to make my way to the water's edge.

One thought that popped into my head, and often does while I am out, is the idea that while in the woods I could very possibly be standing in a spot that no other human has ever stood. Humans may have passed through the area, but may not have stood in the spot where I am currently standing and observing from. There are so many nooks and crannies inside the forest and most people tend not to stray from the beaten path. The woods can be very thick. It does not take much to deter a human and the same concept probably applies to the animals as well. I am interested by the fact that the perspective that one has while out in the woods can change dramatically by moving in one direction only a few feet. I think changing location and thus changing perspective would be a good practice to apply to an area of interest. Looking at the location from a few different view points could result in some very unique observations and might help paint a full picture of the setting at hand.

I stood there for a while, and then crouched down to give my legs a break. As I tried not to move and scanned my surroundings, I did not notice a lot of animal activity but I did notice how much "movement" there was around me. There are so many little complexities inside the forest that I assume usually get overlooked. Even a slight breeze is enough to rustle all sorts of trees, branches and leaves. This movement throws shadows all over the place. I also noticed a litany of bird calls. It was a very peaceful sort of sound. Not having much birding experience, it is not often that I try to distinguish the calls and chirps. As I did attempt to do so this time, I realized just how unique many of the vocalizations are. It seems to me that just like sharpening my observational skills, learning bird calls is very doable and probably just takes the same amount of practice. My appreciation for learning to distinguish birds by their appearance and their vocalizations is definitely growing.

Shortly after arriving at the water's edge, I noticed some movement off to my right. A male and a female Mallard were swimming slowly into my frame of view. They seemed to be swimming at a very casual place and may have been looking for sources of food. I ever so slowly raised my hands with my camera at the ready, and as soon as I did they took flight. They raised up to about eight or ten feet and immediately reversed direction to come back where they had come from. The moved about fifteen feet and once again landed in the water. As they did they began to vocalize. My assumption is that I startled them a bit. They now seemed to be weary of my presence. I was amazed at how easily they had noticed me.

As I moved on, I came across a second and much larger body of water. I walked up to the edge of the body of water and was about thirty feet from a beaver hut. As I inspected the rest of the location, I began to walk closer to the hut. Within a few minutes of doing so, a beaver came swimming in from my left. He or she came to about twenty feet from me and then submerged without making a noise. I did not experience the typical tail slap that is a common occurrence with these animals. I did not see the animal resurface and my assumption is that her or she made their way into the hut. Had he or she felt the vibration from my footsteps on the shoreline and come to inspect the source of the noise?

Any time I run across an animal while I am out in the woods is a positive experience for me. It really helps to increase my appreciation for mother nature. I am amazed at how much more I can experience in the woods when I just take a few minutes to stop and observe my surroundings.

Ingresado el 10 de mayo de 2020 por jearn043 jearn043 | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario