Thursday, April 27, 2017

Coltsfoot

Coltsfoot
Tussilage pas-d'âne
(Tussilago farfara)
Found blooming this year - March 24, 2017
Photo taken - April 10, 2017


Beaked Hazel

Beaked Hazel
aka Beaked Hazelnut
Noisetier à long bec
(Corylus cornuta)
Started blooming this year - March 24, 2017
Photos taken - March 24, 2017





Hairy Bittercress

Hairy Bittercress
Cardamine hérissée
(Cardamine hirsuta)
Started blooming this year - February 12, 2017
Photo Taken - April 19, 2017 - going to seed but still flowering


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Brush Pile Sit Spot

In Edwin Way Teale’s book “A Naturalist Buys an Old Farm,” he writes of sitting in a brush pile. The book was written in 1974 and I read it in 2007. Since 2007 I have been thinking of trying to do the same experiment of making a brush pile with space inside to sit and observe nature around me. 

I am not sure how old the idea of a “sit spot” has been around but I had heard about  using a special spot to sit and observe years before and had done it almost every day for a few months. With all that as background, I decided during late winter this year to make a brush pile for my sit spot and to sit at least 10 minutes for starters on as many days as possible.

I started piling brush when there was still snow on the ground by picking up loose branches in the area near the west end of the property. Gradually the pile got larger and larger by only adding a few branches each day. I put the pile next to some deer trails with hopes of someday being in the pile as deer went by. No luck so far but then I have been going fairly late in the day and only spending 10 minutes so I am not expecting much yet. Sometime later I want to spend a few hours in the spot starting before sunrise. That should be more rewarding. Meanwhile, following are a few observations from the brush pile:




No records for the first two sits . . .

Sit 3: Mar. 30, 2017
Turkey just called
Duck calling from being disturbed 5 min ago at willows
Flicker calling 
Train & car noises in background 
Also Crows in background
Hands cold!

Sit 4: 9:20 Apr. 2
far away Crows
moths fluttering 
traffic noise - cars, jet
Cardinal, Song Sparrow, Woodpecker 
Gull
Red-bellied Woodpecker, Flicker calling
Some grasses &moss green - all else grey, Brown
Chickadees 
Sunshine & blue sky 

Sit 5 - Apr. 3 - 9:10
Crows & Song Sparrow in background
(+ Jet & car traffic)
Blue Jay's call 
unidentified bird chips 
Red-winged Blackbirds calling &  Cardinals 
Robins chatting 
Sun breaking through catching spider's Web
(jets & traffic noises never stopped)

Sit 6: Apr. 5, 9:00 a.m.
Crows close  by
Mourning Dove, Robins call 
(Usual traffic noises & jets)
Blue Jays scream 
short, high chips - Chickadees?
scattered clouds with sunshine 
Cardinal calling 

Sit 7: Apr 9: 9:25 a.m.
Wood duck alarm
Crow cawing 
Cardinal & Song Sparrow calling
(traffic noises)
Red-bellied Woodpecker call 
Starlings chatter 
Robin chirps 
Red-winged Blackbirds 
(Usual jet crossing overhead)
unidentified chirps

Sit 8: 9:25: Apr.10:+17° 
(loud train & traffic noises)
(oh yes-jet too)
wind in trees
Flicker, Red -wing Blackbirds 
Geese flying over
Song Sparrow calling
Robin chirping & singing 
Crow cawing 
more wind noise than usual

Sit 9: Apr.12 - 9:07 a.m.
Cloudy +4 (+1)
Goose overhead 
Flicker, Crows, Song Sparrows 
Dog barking in far distance 
(Traffic & Jet)
 Red-winged Blackbirds 
(Train horn, traffic noise > loud)
unidentified chirps 

Sit 10: Apr.14 9:17 a.m.
Sun +7 
Cdn Goose overhead 
Red-winged Blackbirds 
(traffic, jet)
seed fluff floating by 
Towhee?
Song Sparrow 
Mourning Dove 
Crows 
Red-bellied Woodpecker 

Looking Out


Sit 11: Apr 16-9:20
Cloudy +18
Cardinal, Song Sparrow 
Robin 
(Traffic, jet noises)
American Toad trilling 
Field Sparrow 
Red-winged Blackbirds 
Horsetail coming up 
Leaves on Honeysuckle growing
Apple tree leaves just starting 
Garlic Mustard shooting up taller 

Sit 12: Apr 17- 9:25
clear +8
Mourning Dove, Crows, Song Sparrow 
Red-bellied Woodpecker 
(Traffic, jet)
Field Sparrow 
Cardinal 
Buzzing Fly
fast chirping - lower than F.Sparrow 
Red-winged Blackbirds 
Mallard flying over 


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Some Early Flowers

            From the Royal Botanical Gardens Arboretum Shrub Collection, here are two Witch Hazel cultivars. Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena' is the red-orange flowered shrub in the background with a close up photo of one flower inserted. Hamamelis x intermedia 'Pallida' is the pale yellow flowering shrub in the foreground. They are two of the thirteen Witch Hazel cultivars currently blooming in the arboretum.





            Also from the Royal Botanical Gardens but from the wilder part of the Hendrie Valley, here is my annual photo of the early blooming Skunk Cabbage. I liked how the sunlight lit up the interior of the spathe on this specimen. The flowers are the little bits on the golfball sized part in the bottom middle of the spathe.









            OK, the last photo is not of a "flower," but the lichens are getting ready to spread their spores, I think. Anyway, they are beautiful in their own way. Yes it is a close up of a very small part of a dead willow branch.