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


One Year Ago, I got my …

Way back in high school we never had a camera club but we did have a journalism class. I had dated one of the girls who did the photography in the class and yes, my first kiss was in the dark room! I can still feel the goose-bumps just thinking about it. While spending many hours in the dark room (wink), I also learned about the basics of film processing! She told me which chemicals to use, proper framing of the pictures, and many other tricks in developing black and white photography. This experience ended up getting me the job of developing all the photos for a local weekly newspaper for about 2 years. At that time I used a free 35mm point and shoot camera for all my crazy little pictures that I took. Then I finally purchased my Nikon 6006 (SLR) back in 1995 and carried this camera everywhere I went. Birds were my passion and using a 400mm was essential for me in capturing them on film. This was also my earlier years of doing Environmental Education and I switched over to taking slide film instead of 35mm film. Using slide projectors were the way of life for so many years and I never thought that would ever change? (more…)

Gardens and Meredith with Monarchs

Tom's Garden

Recently I have been seeing post from my blogging friends about how they have been working on their gardens. I figured I probably should post something about my garden that I have!! This photo was taken of my garden in my back yard which does require pruning of weeds. I spend absolutely no time planting any flowers but somehow these flowers always find their way growing in this garden of mine. (more…)

Happy Mothers Day

Pink Lady Slippers 

Pink Lady Slipper

Happy Mothers Day mom and to all other mothers that visit my blog!

This is your day!

Allenburg Bog

Allenburg Bog

Dragonfly Eye gave me a call yesterday and asked if I wanted to join him in search of the Boghaunter. If you are not familiar of the Boghaunter (I wasn’t), it is a rare Dragonfly that is frequently found in areas associated with bogs. Jeremy informed me that none of the Boghaunter species have ever been found at Allenburg Bog (Cattaraugus County, NY) area. He wanted to visit the bog to see if we could find any of them flying yet. Of course I am always up for an adventure and couldn’t resist in also taking the time to look for newly arrived warblers! (more…)

Spring Butterfly Day


I had a late start in getting outside this morning, which resulted in seeing a few birds. I worked hard to come across the Cedar Waxwing (CHECK) and Baltimore Oriole (CHECK) which were both first for 2007’s. I took advantage of the late day to search for some spring butterflies. I started my search in an area where the Toothwart (Dentaria diphylla) grows. I had hoped to find Allegany State Park’s only butterfly species of concern called the West Virginia White. What is interesting is that the NY State Natural Heritage Program (NYNHP) list Allegany State Park as the best place to see the West Virginia White here in New York State. If you head over to the West Virginia White cover page, you will see that someone (hint) has a photo credit! (more…)

Dead Swallows and my Cousins Blog!

Spider photo by kirispupis

It has been such a busy week for me and I am trying to get things done before the weather gets better. Just seems like everything is happening at once!! I did get out today and checked all the bluebird boxes before all the birdies start building their nest. My stomach dropped as soon as (more…)

Half Day of Butterfly Searching


I started getting spring fever (again) after taking my lunch break yesterday (temps were in the 70’s). Something told me to get my butt outside and start search for butterflies!! At 1:30 I took off from work and drove over to the Wolf Run area of Allegany State Park (one of my favorite butterfly spots). In about 1 1/2 hour’s time I had found 17 species of birds and a few wildflowers peaking out of the ground. Leaks were really teasing me and YES, their odor did follow me for the rest of the night. I saw the leaves of trout lilies, toothwort and something else that could have been spring beauties peaking out of the ground. Leaving my favorite little forested flower area, I heard a Barred Owl vocalizing in the middle of the day (about 3pm)! A second owl some distance away began responding back (who cooks for you? who cooks for you all?). (more…)

Sping Animals are Fun to Watch

This time of the year I find myself bombarded with things to write about but very little time to actually do the writing. I will try to focus on some important things instead of every little encounter that I had. Yesterday morning the Eastern Bluebirds were actively singing around my bluebird box and I am soo pleased to have them around. Not sure how I am going to accomplish this but I am currently trying to come up with a plan on getting some video of these guys for the blog. While working on the computer in my office there was a wonderful little song coming through my window. I had to think for a few second “who is this bird” and then it hit me “Brown Creeper”. The Brown Creeper is a common little brown bird which is rarely seen but commonly heard singing in the springtime. (more…)

Such a Warm Stinking Flower

As promised, I have finally gotten around to writing something about Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus). My interest in this flower started late last week when two of my friends were posting pictures of their first of the year wildlfower; Jennifer photo 1, photo 2, and photo 3 & Salamanderdance photo 1 and photo 2. But, after thinking about it, this isn’t my first wildflower for 2007. In January before the 2007 “Ice Age”, I saw dandelions growing out on the lawn. So, this really is my 2nd flower species for 2007 but, does very much feel like my 1st flower also this year.
You might ask why this is a remarkable wildflower? (more…)

Kenn Kaufman at RTPI

Kenn Kaufman spent the evening talking to many guest and members of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute (RTPI) in Jamestown, New York. Kenn is the fourth author who has been invited to speak at the Distinguished Speaker Series at RTPI (funded through the Johnson Foundation). Kenn is best known as the author of the book Kingbird Highway and his Kaufman Focus Field Guides. Tonight was the official release date for his newest Focus Guide on the Insects of North America and it looks like a very useful guide for any nature enthusiast (I know its going in my library).

Kenn Speaking (more…)

My 2006 blogging review of this site

There is always that one moment in your life when something happens and your life is turned upside down! This could be your first up close encounter of that colorful small bird. You then find yourself becoming a birdwatcher within a matter of seconds. You remember those brown streaks down its body as clearly and those mini sideburns on its head. That’s right “how could I have forgotten its bright yellow ball cap on its head”?? You’re then looking through a line up of birds in your new field guide trying to figure out what it could be? Well, this Chestnut-sided Warbler wasn’t the bird that started my new love of blogging but a Black Bear visiting my bird feeder is what did me in!

Remember to take down your bird feeders!

For as long as I live, I will never forget my heart pumping almost 100 miles per/hour and this bears trashy mildew smell following it (the original post can be seen HERE). Yes, I have come across bears on numerous occasions but this one encounter was very special! It was me and the bear eye-to-eye and I had never been so scared in my life! Luckily I was able to capture a few photos before my neighbors dog started barking.

This was a time period which I had started visiting some of my flickr friends blogs and something just clicked that this would be a great experience to share through a blog?  I find myself 6 months after starting this blog and excited that this will be my 100th post here on “Mon@rch’s Nature Blog”. I can’t believe how quickly time has gone by and I never would have expected to have so much to say to everyone.

I guess this is the perfect opportunity to reflect on a few of my favorite post from 2006 which I think you should go back and revisit again (or visit for the first time).

Is that a…..   your kidding me…..

Back in August we rescued this Beaver who somehow got trapped in one of the Administration Buildings window wells. This is something that I could have never imagined having to save but there is no doubt that this has to be my all time favorite post for 2006. To see more go to: Is that a …. Your kidding me …


mamma and the kids

My saddest post for 2006 would have to be the loss of “Marshmallow” the albino woodchuck who everyone in the park tried to see but still fell in love with. This poor little thing lost its life when given the option of challenging a dog or taking its chances with a vehicle. To see more go to: It’s not my fault that I am a mutant!


Fun Backpacking Trip

My most proud moment of 2006 was when the kids and I were able to complete our two day adventure backpacking along the North Country Trail. We started from my house and hiked to the kid’s parent’s campsite. To see more go to: Day 1 and Day 2

Wood Turtle that is tiny little guy

I think one of the most interesting discovery I had for 2006 was the young Woodturtle we found that had a broken shell. To be honest, that whole day was fun discovering wildflowers, herps, birds, ect… but this Woodturtle is a critter that I think about all the time. To see more go to: Young Woodturtle

Who - Who Cooks For You ALLLL!!

There is no doubt that I banded many wonderful birds this season. I also had an amazing year banding the Northern Saw-whet Owls and documenting each day on this blog. But, I have to give this Barred Owl the award for my largest bird banded in 2006. To see more go to: An unusual visitor at the banding station

Tree Clubmoss

Lycopodium by Maxwell C. Wheat is such a wonderful poem and one that I have been thinking about using for Christmas for quite a while now. I have to give this post the award for the longest planned blog for 2006. Do expect more poems by Max to be posted here in 2007. To read the poem go to: Lycopodium
There were so many posts in this blog that I wanted to include but I needed to keep it down to only a few of my all time faves! So, please take the time to review the others from 2006 and I would love to hear which post were your favorites.

Might 2007 bring many wonderful things to blog and Happy New Year to everyone!


Lycopodium obscurum

by Maxwell C. Wheat, Jr.

They are the elves’ Christmas trees
Grandfather would say
of Ground Pine and Cedar
Once in the sun I laid on snow
eye level to see colored lights and bulbs
the size of frozen dew drops

They are lycopodiums, he’d say
teaching me again to pronounce the name
because scientific words have the sounds of poetry


You’ve got it, he’d laugh
his hearty red face broadening behind his white beard
his abundant frame rollicking

When I return home for the holidays
I always walk back to our woods
think of Grandfather assuring a small boy
Yes,I’ll see that the elves have a happy Christmas

I am glad lie-ko-po-dee-um is evergreen

Used by permission All rights reserved
Wheat, M.C. Jr. (2000) Following Their Star – Poems of Christmas and Nature. Cow Meadow Promotions. p.27

Tree Clubmoss Stiff Clubmoss Staghorn Clubmoss Ground Pine Club Moss

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.

Nodding Ladies’ Tresses Orchid (Spiranthes cernua)

Ladies Tresses and the pond


While checking out the other wildflowers – we happened to come across these Nodding Ladies’ Tresses Orchid Spiranthes cernua!! They are such interesting looking Orchids with the flowers spinning around in spirals. The pictures tell it all!


Orchid Ladies Tresses up close

Closed Gentian

Here is Closed Gentian which the purple or blue flower is commonly found here in AlleganyState Park in the woods or wet meadows.

 Closed Gentian Closed Gentian - white

This flower is unique that there is a white form of this plant. An interesting fact which we learned about Closed Gentian is that the only insect which can successfully pollinate this flower is the bumblebee (Flora of Michigan). We are double checking to make sure this isn’t a different species but its leaning towards being the white form of Closed Gentian.

Closed Gentian - white with bumblebee

Visit to Jamestown Audubon

big pond

Today I visited Jamestown Audubon for their exhibit grand opening.  The day was truly joyful and I was able to visit with many friends.  Before the Audubon opened, I took a walk around the big pond and this is what I saw.

Cardinal Flower  Audubon Nature Trail  Honeybees

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns =   Jamestown Audubon  Painted Turtle and Mini Me

Green Back Heron  Pokeweed  Common Checkered Skipper