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

Posts tagged “discovery

Bird Searching

Green Heron
Green Heron

This weekend we made some time searching for some birdies! The Osprey continued hanging out around the Osprey platform as many small warblers were peeping along tree tops among the leaves. Cedar Waxwings appeared to be everywhere but it was this Green Heron who really allowed us to get the closest to it. (more…)

Insect Searching

Green Darner up close

Green Darner Up Close

Between dodge ball and many other fun activities this weekend . . . . we still found a few hours to focus on insects. We headed out to the Bova Area and quickly caught a few butterflies species flying around. They included the Common Ringlets, Pearl Crescents and Eastern Tailed Blue but those dragonflies were what everyone was most focused on. (more…)

Whale Watching at Cape Cod

whale and gulls

Humpback Whale feeding on small fish and plankton.

By Young Naturalist C – This summer I went on vacation to Cape Cod with my family and we decided to go on a Whale Watch on the Portuguese Princess. We started by waiting 20 minutes for the boat to take off towards the ocean. After a 1/2 hour boat ride we finally started seeing the whales and the on board educator was pointing out the whales using the clock system (“Whales at 9 o’clock”). We approached slowly as a few whales were feeding on small fish and plankton.

Interrupted Fern

by Pam

Even though I’m a major tree lover from the time I could climb them, I also love the large diversity of plants and other living things that grow on and underneath trees, including wildflowers, club moss, mushrooms, moss, lichens, liverworts, horsetails and ferns.

Ferns were just interesting green things I used to appreciate but never really thought about identifying until I took a field botany course and found out identifying ferns is really not hard at all! The best book for identifying ferns is Fern Finder, by Anne C. Hallowell and Barbara G. Hallowell.


This particular book is a guide for native ferns of central and northeastern US and Eastern Canada. There is the Pacific Coast Fern Finder, also.

One fern that doesn’t need keying out is the Interrupted Fern (Osmunda Claytoniana). While I read and learned about this unique fern for my class, I never imagined when I first saw it growing at Allegany State Park in May that it would be as tall as it was at that time. The fronds (“leaves”) can grow up to six feet long! Interrupted fern has fertile pinnae (“leaflets”) “interrupting” sterile pinnae in the center of each frond. There are usually two to four pairs of fertile pinnae with dark brown sporangia when they’re ripe. They wither and fall, leaving vacant spots on the leaf stem after midsummer. Here’s what the fertile pinnae looked like at Allegany State Park on May 26th: (more…)

Tagging my first Monarch

Just Hatched Monarch

Just Hatched

While Young Naturalist C was in Cape Cod watching Whales and having a good time at the beach . . . . those of us back in Allegany State Park were butterfly sitting her caterpillars/chrysalis while she was off on vacation. Just last Thursday her oldest Monarch Butterfly emerged from its chrysalis (who Young Naturalist C named Lulu) and so I asked her mother if I could tag my first monarch (C couldn’t be around to tag it). (more…)


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…)


Eastern Towhee

Eastern Towhee

Here is my end of the year report for the CLDC MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) 2007 season. I have not entered all the data into the computer yet . . . . so this is only preliminary “end of the year” report. I quickly went through the data for the species numbers (hope I didn’t miss anything)! We had 7 banding sessions and were able to capture 153 new individuals and 14 recaptured individuals from previous years. We used 10 (12 meter) Polyester mist-nets and banded for 6 hours after the official sunrise time. We had 167 different individuals captured with 200 total captures (including same year captures) for the 2007 season. (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…)


kids fishing

Yesterday the Recreation Department hosted their first fishing derby here in Allegany State Park. This derby was for kids aged 15 and under with over 150 children who registered to participate in this event. I was asked to help with the fishing tournament at one of the check in stations to report their captures (then release their fish due to this being a catch and release event). (more…)

The Big Scream (painting)

Click on the photo to see the finished painting

CHECK THIS OUT!! “Toni” from Erie PA sent me an email last week requesting permission to paint one of my photos! Then I waited to see the wonderful painting that she would create (I just love her paintings on her blog)! . . . . . Yesterday evening while browsing my RSS feeds . . . . I stumbled over this astounding series of paintings she had done on her blog! She did such an amazing job on these cute little Barn Swallows that I needed to blog her posting! . . . . Please check out her blog at A Spattering to see the finished painting! Thanks Toni for making my day with your amazing work! (more…)


Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow (most captured species)

I have finally gone through all of my 2007 SWAT MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) raw data this week. It has been hard trying to focus on this report with “other” new higher speed internet distractions that I have been having recently. Regarding the SWAT report: we had 6 banding sessions and able to capture a total of 164 different individuals with 34 same year recaptures. We used 8 (12 meter) polyester mist-nets and banded for 6 hours after the official sunrise time. That gave us a total of 198 captures for the station and we were very happy with the excellent year that we had. Even with the need to close the station early due to the Long-tailed Weasel that terrorizing us. We are not sure what we will do with next season (regarding the weasel) but we have all winter to figure something out. (more…)


I love nature photography but when using a Digital SLR camera you quickly learn about Dust Bunnies. No they are not those cute little fuzzy creatures that I am normally blogging about or even those things you find in your belly button. They are very tiny particles of dust that somehow make it inside your camera and always find their way against your sensor. How apparent these dust spots are on your photo depends on the aperture setting that you are using with your camera. You can’t always photoshop these dust spots from the picture . . . . so their comes a time when you need to clean your camera sensor.

dust spot

Dust Spots in the Photo. Click |HERE| to see the picture larger!


A Day for Monarchs

monarch pair

a monarch pair doing . . . you know what they are doing!

Recently I have sought after changing my “custom header” to a new monarch picture! I have found it very hard to find that ideal snapshot due to the strange shape the header needs to be!! So, after work I was off to Red House Lake in search of some monarch butterflies!

My Morning Alarm Clock

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird!

When I lived in the city . . . . we typically had one, maybe two hummingbirds that regularly visited my feeder. Once I moved into a house in the woods; I quickly learned that the hummingbird feeders not only attract many hummingbirds but they also attract other critters (like bears). Three years ago I had a bear encounter that changed where I have placed my hummingbird feeder. Making the long story short; about 2am in the morning the bear destroyed the feeder, fell “threw” my screen window (was half into my house), broke the window frame and woke me up from a dead sleep. Now if I would like to feed the hummingbirds . . . . I need to place the feeder somewhere on the second floor (out of reach of the critters). The most convenient location was outside my bedroom window. (more…)


solitary sandpiper

Solitary Sandpiper

Today I joined my friends Tim B. and Mike D. for a birding adventure for early shorebirds moving through the area. It was a beautiful sunny day but it seemed very quite with only a few songbirds vocalizing. Highlights were Solitary Sandpipers, Northern Harrier, flock of Kingbirds, and a Sharp-shinned Hawk. (more…)

Back to Birding

one huge scream


Things have been so hectic recently but I am starting to see everything getting back to normal! Work’s craziness is over, banding data has been going good and I don’t have many obligations for the next few months. My current goal is to get back to birding, nature photography and do some real writing here on this blog. (more…)


red eft

When it rains the Red-Efts come out!

Last CLDC MAPS Session

Taking a Bite

A recaptured Common Yellowthroat who remembers me from last year.

Today was our last CLDC MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) banding session for the 2007 season! This was such a wonderful year and I can’t wait to enter all my data into the computer to learn how this season compared with other years. I promise in the near future that I will do a summary for both CLDC and SWAT banding station. (more…)

Wordless Wednesday Unusual Flowers

squaw root

Squaw Root – (Parasite on Oak Roots)


Got a couple on mon@rch

American Avocet

On the 8th of July, mon@rch was taking me home from a day of bird banding at the SWAT site. About five minutes after he took me home I got a phone call from my neighbors wanting to know if I would like to come with her to the mouth of the Cattaraugus Creek and Lake Erie to see a “bird”. She did not tell me what the bird was so I knew it would be good. Keep in mind this was about five minutes after mon@rch left. My neighbor picked me up at my house and brought me down to the lake to look at this “bird”. She has still not told me what it was and so we walked down to the beach. There was the “bird” wading on the shore. (more…)

SWAT Shut Down!

Long-tailed Weasel

Long-tailed Weasel (with eye flash)

I made it official today . . . . the SWAT banding site is closed for the season. After an unwanted visitor showed some continued interest in my birds . . . . I made the decision to shut everything down for the safety of the birds. After discussing this situation with the Institute of Bird Populations, they agreed that my decision to shut down for the season is the best thing to do. (more…)


Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse

This morning was one of our foggiest days that we have had at the CLDC MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) Banding Station in a VERY long time. I feared that this thick fog would reduce the number of birds that we would end up capturing. Instead the birdies were soo abundant that we found ourselves spending most of our time trying to catch up with net checks! (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…)


Scarlet Tanager

Did you ever have one of these days when many good things happen but then you have some bad things happen! Today is just one of those days at the SWAT MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) banding station.