My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!


Allenburg Bog

Allenburg Bog

I was in Allenburg Bog today with Dragonfly Eye who was searching for a bog Dragonfly species that has never been observed in this bog before! Obviously we didn’t locate the “Boghaunter” but we did manage to find a few Darner species and a few damselfly species.

Reptiles – 2007 Checklist

I decided to split up my 2007 Nature Checklist into 5 different categories; Butterflies & Skippers, Amphibians, Reptiles, Mammals and Birds! Reptiles (6) are the next family in my series of species that I have kept track of within Western New York State.

Common Garter Snake
Common Garter Snake (more…)

Are you willing to look closer?

Getting Too Close
Do you really want a closer look?



Purple Headed Sneezeweed

Purple Headed Sneezeweed (all-time fave flower)

Yesterday I took a family that I have known for a very long time into the Big Basin area (old growth forest) of Allegany State Park. We had a wonderful time looking at the many old trees and then a few other unexpected treasures. We have an ongoing joke about how whenever I take them for a walk we somehow end up off trail and “sort of” get lost! I couldn’t let them down this year so everywhere we hiked “it was” off trail!! (more…)

Mudpuppy in Allegany

Mudpuppy in Allegany

During the kids fishing derby this weekend the DEC staff biologist were on site to hand-out educational information on fishing, etc. . . . they had also captured a few fish to placed into a fish tank for everyone to view up close! But, what was most amazing is that when they were capturing the minnows and fish . . . . they came across a mudpuppy along the waters edge. He stated that they witnessed this mudpuppy entangled with a little Water Snake. And it was the mudpuppy that had the upper end of the snake battle!! I call that “salamander power” and would have LOVED to see that battle!! (more…)

Seconds feel like minutes!

Broad-winged Hawk

Broad-winged Hawk

I decided to drive the long way through Allegany State Park to visit some friends camping over in the Quaker Area. Along ASP Rt. 1 I noticed a hawk coming out of the grass with something in its talons and moving directly towards my vehicle! My heart just stopped, I quickly spiked my breaks and hoped not to hear any thump like sound! While trying to look over the hood of my truck for the bird, I found myself thinking “what are my next steps are if I end up hitting the bird”?? Suddenly (more…)

“Northern” Wordless Wednesday

Northern Pearly-eye

Northern Pearly-eye


Allegany Post by Others

Having some problems with the post I had planned! SORRY! So, here are a few other blog post that I have found that are related to the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage that everyone should check out :

Biological Ramblings – You must see the amazing herps that he found here in Allegany!

A Passion for Nature – Jen had such a wonderful time that I rarely saw her!

Dragonfly Eye  – Jeremy is amazing with the Dragonflies! Just check out the Dflies he found! Hint (Common Sanddragon)

Life in the Bristolwood was a blog that I found via a google search!

Jeff  – How cool, found also in the google search and Jeff attended my Old Growth Walk!  Would have commented but not a my space member.

Bill of the Birds – who was our Saturday evening speaker! Heck, he’s BT3 what else can I say!

While you are catching up on the recent Allegany Nature Pilgrimage post, I will figure out what went wrong with the post I had planned!!  BTW:  Wednesday morning I am doing my rescheduled SWAT – MAPS banding that was canceled due to he rain on Monday.  Expect many more great up close banding photos!

REPTILES – My 2006 Nature Checklist

I decided to split up my 2006 Nature Checklist into 5 different categories; Butterflies & Skippers, Amphibians, Reptiles, Mammals and Birds! Reptiles are the next family in my series of species that I have kept track of within Western New York State. I have also taken the Reptiles and split them up between Turtles (4) and Snakes (6).

the eyes

Some turtle species like the Eastern Painted Turtle can be consistently found in the same area day after day. Then if you’re lucky you could find turtles which are more secretive and it then becomes blog worthy. Last spring I had one of these experiences with a snapping turtle that approached me while I was out in the water searching by flashlight for spring peepers. Suddenly I felt something hit my rubber boots and this large snapping turtle climbing over my foot. I quickly tried to grab it but within a blink of an eye it crawled under a clump of grass. I did my best to grab it but was out of reach and I did not want to loose any fingers. We had so much fun that night.

Along the side of the road! Wood Turtle

The next exciting day was on the 1st of June 2006 where I didn’t find one but two unusual turtle encounters. Earlier in the day we had a male Wood Turtle crossing one of the dirt roads here in Allegany. Each year I sometimes come across one or maybe two Wood Turtle here in Allegany. What was so exciting about this find was that this guy was in an area which I had never seen them in this area before. That wasn’t the highlight of the day, it came later heading into town to get some pizza. I found this female Snapper looking for a place to lay her eggs in the gravel. This Snapping Turtle was very laid back and surprisingly it allowed me to get very close for a few pictures! I quickly took a few shots and let her do her thing. I did return later in the evening to find that she had successfully crossed back across the road without any harm.

there are times you shouldn't use you macro lens Painted Turtle and Mini Me

Then you have those unusual encounters where you find this strange thing stuck in the middle of the road (or bridge). In late July this happened to an Eastern Spiny Softshell and luckily a concerned individual safely removed it from being run over by passing vehicles. It happened to have gotten stuck in the middle of the bridge and couldn’t figure out how to get over the edge. You might wonder how I ended up getting involved; well this person placed this turtle into a bag and brought it to my office for me to identify for him (people bring me unusual presents all the time). Shocked by this unique find, I quickly knew what this funny looking turtle was a Softshell and that we needed to return it back to the lake. I found it amazing how quickly it dashed into the water once we released it.

Here is my list of Turtles which I have listed in taxonomic order by common name (I would be happy to send you their Latin name for any species in question):

1. Common Snapping Turtle 3. Eastern Spiny Softshell
2. Eastern Painted Turtle 4. Wood Turtle

Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)

This year I didn’t spent too much time looking for snakes and only really missed out on seeing the Eastern Milk Snake from my previous years checklist. The highlights this year had to have been seeing three Smooth Green Snakes. Typically I only find green’s squished on the road and rarely lucky enough to find them alive! While at the Audubon Nature Pilgrimage this year, Rex had two live ones that he had found (and let me hold one). Then in late June while leading a group of people into the Old Growth Forest we happen to find a Smooth Green in some of the vegetation. I think we also found a Garter that day and the walk quickly turned into a reptile talk. We released the snakes where we found them and continued back talking about forest ecology. It was one of those few times that I didn’t have my camera with me.

Ringneck in the hand Ringneck in the leaf

Regarding other species of snakes, the Northern Ring-neck Snake truly put on a show for me year. I found some tiny ones around the admin building and even found one while it was snowing out in October. I was successful this year in photographing a Northern Water Snake after numerous unsuccessful attempts throughout the summer. Common Garter snakes were just as common as always and can’t wait believe where they were being seen.

Here is my list of Snakes which I have listed in taxonomic order by common name (I would be happy to send you their Latin name for any species in question):

1. Northern Water Snake 4. Eastern Garter Snake
2. Brown Snake 5. Northern Ring-neck Snake
3. Red-bellied Snake 6. E. Smooth Green Snake

Water Snake

I can’t wait to see what reptiles in 2007 will bring me. Maybe even a Timber Rattlesnake??

365 days on flickr

Thanks for an amazing 365 days!

I joined flickr one year ago and uploaded some butterfly pictures to a world which I never expected to change my life like it did. I have learned soo much from everyone and I have made such wonderful friends on the site. I helped Bird Mom in organizing camp flickr and attended some other flickr meets that have been scheduled. I have been encouraged through flickr to create this blog and share all my experiences with everyone. I started a few groups like herps and insects in the hand. So much has been learned by just looking at everyones pictures. I would like to thanks everyone for just being there for me when I need a smile. THANKS!

Pictures which made the top 500 on flickr’s explorer

What has made explorer over the past year!

1. Saying So Long for Another Season, 2. Waxwing when we use to have leaves!, 3. Herring Gulls riding the wind, 4. Northern Saw-whet Owl, 5. darner species, 6. running away newt, 7. Red House Creek, 8. a Happy Red Squirrel,

9. Summer Velvet, 10. Trouble Bears, 11. summer azure, 12. mamma and the kids, 13. cecropia moth, 14. big campfire, 15. Along the side of the road!, 16. Office Visitor,

17. Sharp-shinned Hawk, 18. can I help you with something, 19. woodfrog eggs, 20. an older monarch photo, 21. Snowdrops in the Rain, 22. Northern Saw-whet Owl, 23. Mini Me!, 24. Scotish Highland Cow,

25. Red House Lake, 26. A Summer Millipede, 27. Viceroy, 28. Gray Comma Looking a little camouflage!, 29. NSWO, 30. White Admiral

The Day of Exploring New Territory

Common Garter Snake

Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)

This was a wonderful day today! Weather was perfect and I was given many photograph opportunities. I was invited to join two inspirational biologists in search of some fall wildflowers in an area of the park that I have never explored before. Here I would like to include a few other photos from our hike trip up into the woods.


Zigzag Goldenrod Crooked-stem Aster

These two flowers (Zigzag Goldenrod and Crooked-stem Aster) were located along the forest edge. They both have that Zig n Zag feel to them and its ironic that they were growing together. The Zigzag Goldenrod was a wildflower that I never took the time to identify until this trip.


Magnolia Warbler

This Magnolia Warbler was showing off its yellow coloring which let me get a quick photo or two before disappearing into the shrubs. There were a few Magnolia’s flying around but most of them were high up into the canopy. Some Common Yellowthroats, Chickadees and a Thrush species was in the same area with the Magnolia.

Green Heron

While leaving, we came across this Green Heron in the wet grass while searching for some shorebirds. Was wonderful it would pop its tuft up and get a grasshopper or two. We were lucky to have watched it for about 4 minutes before disappearing into the grass.

Movement of some Northern Ring-necked Snakes

Was an interesting day today! Heading back to work from my lunch break – I located a Northern Ring-necked Snake in the middle of the road. Took a few pictures and then let it go! What was so interesting was that another one of these young Ring-necked Snakes were found inside the administration building. It obviously was a different individual by the amount of orange ring around its neck and the first one looked like it was going to shed soon. Just can’t figure out where these snakes are coming from??

Ringneck in the hand Ringneck in the leaf

I did let both of them go in the direction towards the picnic area.