Archivos de diario de junio 2020

03 de junio de 2020


I spent some time sitting by a large pond that has the following plants, cattails, some sedge species, water reeds, duckweed and a weeping willow a few yards from the waters edge. Within the pond, there were the following creatures; bullfrog adults, bullfrog tadpoles, green frog adults, painted turtles at varying ages, mallard ducks, water beetles and damselflies. Some birds that were flying around included many male redwing blackbirds, some female redwing blackbirds, tree swallows and a northern flicker. The blackbirds were landing on the pond reeds and picking at the base presumably eating some tasty pond dwelling insects. I sit and watch and I learn. Many questions are answered this way. The tadpoles demostrated a behavior where they chew the algae off of the water plants and then swim to the surface of the water and gulp air. Im wondering if this behavior is part of the transition into the air-breathing life stage. Either way, it was fascinating to watch.

Several yards next to the pond lies an open field that constitutes wild native plants as well as birds and small mammals. Grass is cut in a path to allow guests to the park area to walk freely within the filed habitat. This path cuts through into a dense forest where the habitat changes yet again. These habitats are also adjacent to an agricultural field that is cultivated for crops. The wide open cropland offers a clearcut edge habitat. Deer tracks and trails were present along the border. Being on the border offers a food source from the agricultural field as well as immediate cover from potential predators.

Keeping these biological habitats in mind can be strung together with the anthropogenic and abiotic factors which help make up an ecosystem. The biotic systems and abiotic aspects come together when the park is open and people are spending time near the pond and walking on the trails. People are experiencing the natural world, curious children are trying to catch frogs with long butterfly nets, adults are jogging on the trails and walking their dogs and some are readIng quietly underneath a shady tree. The interactions that are made every day demonstrates the interconnectedness of the surrounding environment.

Ingresado el 03 de junio de 2020 por sophie342 sophie342 | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario


These past few days I have been studying different parts of ecosystems and different kinds. Yesterday I traveled to Rutland and studied the habitat there along the river. The forest overlapped into a meadow, the meadow overlapped into a swampy area which the river flowed into. They are all so interconnected that understanding the difference between ecosystem and habitat has been difficult for me but I think I am getting closer to understanding. There were Common yellow throats singing that were mostly in the bushes along the edge of the water but would sometimes fly into the pine trees and sing from there instead. There were also yellow warblers hunting and singing in the bushes near the water. Sometimes I would see a grub in their beak and watched in fascination as they would lightly toss it into the air to catch in their beak, other times they seemed to slurp it up like spaghetti. There was an alder flycatcher flying back and forth, swiveling in midair to catch the small insects that filled the air alongside the darting tree swallows and barn swallows. The bullfrogs in the stream were hunting the dragonflies, water striders and there were whirligwigs but I am unsure if they were eating those as well. There was so much to see there that I can not cover it here.
Today I went back to Dennison and there were signs of beaver, and were blue headed vireos,warbling vireos, common yellowthroats, yellow warblers, gray catbirds, eastern kingbird, ovenbirds, common grackles, red winged blackbirds, crows and ravens. I saw the pair of bald eagles and one dove into the water and seemed to catch a brook trout. There were two grackles bombarding the eagle as it tried to eat its prey in peace. There was also a chickadee excavating a nest hole.
So much life, so much to see, all you have to do and stop and be. What a beautiful day!!!

Ingresado el 03 de junio de 2020 por jobird jobird | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

The juvenile eastern newt, or red eft

Of all the plants and lichens and mosses and creatures that I have observed this week, the red eft is top of mind in terms of adaptation. I climbed Wachusett mountain at 8:30am the morning after a good rain, and I saw 70 of them on the path. (Yes I counted!) (But I only took one picture.)

They are small and bright orange, and must be easily visible to a variety of predators. I also wondered where they were all traveling to. So I did some sleuthing. (Meaning I read the Wikipedia article.)

Here’s what I learned.

  • The eastern newt produces tetrodotoxin, which makes the species unpalatable to predatory fish and crayfish. (example of adaptation)
  • Eastern newts have three stages of life: the aquatic larva or tadpole, the red eft or terrestrial juvenile stage, and the aquatic adult.
  • The red eft (juvenile) stage is a bright orangish-red, with darker red spots outlined in black. An eastern newt's time to get from larva to eft is about three months. During this stage, the eft may travel far, acting as a dispersal stage from one pond to another, ensuring outcrossing in the population. (example of adaptation)
  • The striking coloration of this stage is an example of aposematism — or "warning coloration" — which is a type of antipredator adaptation in which a "warning signal" is associated with the unprofitability of a prey item (i.e., its toxicity) to potential predators. (example of adaptation)
  • After two or three years, the eft finds a pond and transforms into the aquatic adult.
  • Eastern newts are at home in both coniferous and deciduous forests. (like Wachusett mountain) Red efts may often be seen in a forest after a rainstorm. Adults prefer a muddy aquatic habitat, but will move to land during a dry spell. Eastern newts have some amount of toxins in their skin, which is brightly colored to act as a warning. Even then, only 2% of larvae make it to the eft stage. Some larvae have been found in the pitchers of the carnivorous plant Sarracenia purpurea. (part of its role in the ecosystem)
  • Eastern newts eat a variety of prey, such as insects, small mollusks and crustaceans, young amphibians, worms, and frog eggs. (part of its role in the ecosystem)

Ingresado el 03 de junio de 2020 por janezupan janezupan | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario



Healthy soil is complicated – a matrix of organic matter, minerals, moisture, living organisms and more in relationships that work together. It's an ecosystem within an ecosystem. Clearly plants are the basic building block of visible life, but soil is the building block of plants (plus energy – sun). There's so much in the soil that doesn't come thru in texture or even soil tests. I've been digging in the dirt to plant almost 2 dozen native plants this week that I ordered. They were categorized under 3 categories: 1. Spring ephemerals – a temporal distinction, had to consider the neighbor plants. Ok if it neighbored with big sunblocking plants as long as they grow or leaf out later than the early Spring. Seemed to be found mostly in woodlands. I don't have woods, so I clustered them in a mini woodland. They aren't dead (good news) but you don't know if a plant really likes where you put it until the next year. Fingers crossed.

  1. moisture loving – wetland. I do have that. If the description didn't say 'tolerates peat conditions” I added some additional soil, but otherwise I'm thinking they will love it in a corner of my yard. Again, fingers crossed. 3. summer sun – plants that love sun. I've got places for them. Loamy soil seemed right, we'll see. 1 died because I broke it at the base of the stem while planting. It's a bulb type plant though and might survive – again, we'll see. Another 2 have had flowers eaten by rabbits. Ok, we'll see.

Did I find a niche for each of my plants? I checkin with them daily, mostly so far so good. We'll see, fingers crossed.

As for me, I knew what my niche was when I worked. Increasingly, my niche is to live and adopt a lifestyle with some nature balance. I eat mostly plants. I try to grow some of what I eat. I'm trying to put a lifelong history of killing plants behind me (no natural green thumb here). I'd like to share part of my yard with wild life. I am home at sea level oxygen levels, trees, winter, temperate zones.

Ingresado el 03 de junio de 2020 por maryjb maryjb | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

07 de junio de 2020

taking it all in

I was so inspired by hearing Barbara's account of sitting and experiencing nature, I tried it. I realized that, altho I'm outdoors a lot and noticing the nature around me, I'm infrequently still. I'm exercising, walking the dog, weeding, looking for a specific bird... I've seen a lot, but it is different than watching the world unfold. I've been collecting photographs (literally on inaturalist) and having nature moments.

I sat at least 10 minutes midmorning on a bench I'd set up in the middle of the almost quarter acre area of our backyard that we've let grow away from from being a suburban lawn. The bench is on a 10X10 black plastic covered area I plan to plant with native plants after 1 year. It is facing a willow tree and the wetland portion of the yard. The area is slightly raised and faces another slightly raised area with a strip of flatter ground in between. I noticed a red tail hawk followed by a much smaller bird high in the sky, song sparrows, heard house sparrows, noted a great blue heron flying over, heard goldfinches. There was a female wild turkey walking in the tall grass and I wondered if she was nesting since I'd seen baby turkeys and a mom here in previous years. I saw what looked like a moth and a bee interact around a plant. The willow had a huge branch fall off recently, reducing it's size in half. We have tried re rooting some of the branches in a few places hoping one or two will take. There is some new green activity on two of them. According to our arborist, planted willow branches will easily take root. Close by is a gray birch, tall and thin, maybe 10-12 years old. The fallen branch shaded this tree. I wonder if it will get secondary growth (get wider) now that it has a bigger share of the sun. I notice that the raised area between the bench and the willow slopes down to the right and left of me. To the right is a grouping of ferns (sensitive ferns mostly) and over the top there are goldenrods, mostly canada goldenrod. The soil to the left is moist with lots of clay and I planted a few native plants that advertised 'tolerates boggy conditions'. In the last week we have seen a red fox trotting across our property at least 4 times. I've identified coyote scat on the property, so it has it's predators. We live across the street from a national wildlife refuge and at the start of a small stream that empties into a large pond and more conservation land less than 1 mile away. It seemed part of our yard could serve as a wildlife corridor for these areas. The road I live on has been present since the late 1600's, so no shortage of human influence on this land. It has been lawn since at least the 1960's. At the end of last summer I covered the area where I sat and another area 10X25 ft to plan and plant with natives, but in addition I have continuously planted natives here and there and made progress managing invasives. There is no bare earth. I hope that at some point the native seed bank will take over. On inaturalist I have identified 86 different species of mostly plants, but also insects and fungi on this little plot of land. There are more to be identified. Yes, there are invasives, but most species are not invasive. So, it has biodiversity. I have to think that this little area is healthier than it was as a lawn. If I sat longer I might see some of the insect and other life others see. maybe I'll try that...

Ingresado el 07 de junio de 2020 por maryjb maryjb | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

08 de junio de 2020

Magical wits

"The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Phillpotts
Quote from Everyday Gratitude

A journal entry or a stream of consciousness? I've been reluctant to enter a journal posting as I have consciously been limiting my time on the computer. However, a homework assignment is an open task which requires a checkbox for completed.

Just as I began my journal entry my cute dog barked to go outside - so we went out. She dashed down the yard to immediately burrow her muzzle into one chipmunk hole after the other (4 in all). While she had her fun I had my own.

I observed wood shards on the grass from the pine tree we stood under. I wondered where they came from. In my minds eye I recalled the song of the pileated woodpecker I often hear in our backyard. I made a connection, so I looked up searching for a hole in the tree bark. I didn't see one from the angle I stood in. I walked around the tree gazing up - still no visible hole. No chipmunks caught, no holes found - so we went in.

Ah, the magic - I just heard the call of the pileated woodpecker from my desk. Perhaps tomorrow, the hole in the bark will be visible.

Which and how many scientific words do I "need" to use to turn magical things into submitted homework?
For me, one = observe

Ingresado el 08 de junio de 2020 por jenniferzw jenniferzw | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

10 de junio de 2020

Being Still and Silent

I am not good at sitting still, I never have been. I'm the kind of person who is always moving, "oh saw that now time to move on." is my kind of mind set but nature is slowly teaching me to be still, a silent watcher. Birds have taught me some patience which I am glad of but the whole sitting in one place thing is still difficult for me.
This past week I have been very busy but I finally took some time to just sit and watch yesterday and what I found surprised me. As I sat there a bluejay flew into pine tree and we both sat and watched each other curiously, I felt connected to it the longer I watched it until it finally flew away. It was about 76 degrees with a cloud cover and I could feel the heaviness in the air, knowing it may rain in a few days. My attention was soon drawn away from the sky to the ground where a greater bee fly hovered, I wonder what it was looking for. I then closed my eyes to allow my ears to see for me and I heard bluejays,robins, red-eyed vireo,chipmunks scolding, a hermit thrush soon joined with its ethereal flute like songs, chimney swifts twittered above as they flew through the sky. I opened up my eyes once again and turned my attention to the ground where an ant dragged a dead counter part. As I watched in fascination my bluejay swooped back into the yard, turning my eyes toward him as he scooped up a piece of bread and flew into a oak. A tiger swallowtail floated past and as I watched I wrote down in my journal how they made me think of a small bird, or a flying leaf at times when they fly high into the canopy. I already had drawn my bluejay and the ant and bee fly that I had seen. A woodpecker began drumming deep in the forest as the half hour went by. I saw a spider, goldthread, a moth, canada mayflower, a red squrriel, robin, patridge berry and sketched them as well. I noticed how I could smell rain on the air and this is what I jotted down in my little journal: " The air smells like rain. I know it is a odd thing to say but for one who spends much time outside I can sense it. I can sense the slightest change of light on my skin and tell when the sun is about to emerge from behind a cloud." A warbling vireo and Blue headed vireo soon began to sing but I had to head inside lest I be eaten alive by desperate mosquitos looking for protien so that they may lay their eggs. I did not want to be the one to provide the blood for their spawn, and did not want to have itchy wellts but some got me anyways.
Being Still and Silent has more benefits than I thought and I am striving to become better at it.

Ingresado el 10 de junio de 2020 por jobird jobird | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

11 de junio de 2020

Sketchy person

Just warning everyone about a new user @ ballsypen. They aren't part of this project but commented on my most recent post in a different language. I was able to translate some of it and it sounded sketchy, it said something about some site that sounded like a scam or something. I deleted the comment and reported it. Please be careful.

Ingresado el 11 de junio de 2020 por jobird jobird | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

21 de junio de 2020

Start a naturalist club?

Hello! I'm missing our fun conversations about ecosystems and wildlife. Who else is interested in meeting twice a month, or once a month, to talk about our naturalist experiences, and learn from the group? We could do this on Wednesdays at 7pm. I'd be happy to organize it and use my zoom account. Let me know in the comments if you'd like to do this.

Ingresado el 21 de junio de 2020 por janezupan janezupan | 5 comentarios | Deja un comentario

30 de junio de 2020

Naturalist club Wed July 1, 7pm

Hi all,
A group of us will have an online meeting tomorrow evening (Wed July 1) to discuss ecosystems and share citizen naturalist experiences.
Send me an email or a direct message in iNat to get a link to the zoom - zupan[dot]jane[at]gmail[dot]com.
Happy observing!
– Jane

Ingresado el 30 de junio de 2020 por janezupan janezupan | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario