To all those interested in the natural world. Please add your sightings.

In the woods we return to reason and faith-Emerson


Monday, July 6, 2009

In Colorado we saw what thunderstorm clouds look like. They are like very large cotton balls.
There are mushrooms growing here at Gordy and Tina's house which is basically in the desert.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Walking along the trail to our neighbors pond I saw my first Indian pipes. They are a saprophyte which means they get their food from decaying organic material.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Yesterday, I could see the fresh colors of the turkey feather wood fungi. They were putting on new growth and they had a bluish tinge. I heard the call of the scarlet tanager, "chick bur," but I couldn't see it. It had been raining most of the morning, and interestingly enough most of the birds were calling instead of singing.
I found the remains of a white mushroom, usually a sign that it is poisonous, broken into three parts.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

It has been raining so much today, yesterday, the day before, and so on, that when I walked on my nature path it smelled like a gym. On one log of an ancient tree, yellow tiny, gilled mushrooms grew. Further along a tiny white gilled mushrooms stood. The underside looked like a scalloped flower with 20 or more petals. The sound of the wood thrush surrounded me along with the wheep sound of the great created fly catcher.
Raccoon scat lay at the end of my driveway.
Tonight during this lightening storm, a barred owl called out. How surprising.

Monday, June 29, 2009

While I was mowing the lawn I was reminded of my responsibilities to life. A red eft and a small toad were so close to getting killed by my lawn mower. This was a clear indication that I should not cut the lawn too low.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

This is the southern view from Black Mountain. It is a 20 minute walk up with a spectacular view. Somday I'm going to fgure out exactly what I'm looking at.One year we saw the fireworks from the fourth of July. Blueberries have started to turn ripe and there was enough for us to feast. o
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Friday, June 26, 2009

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This is one of the most unusual natural communities in Southern Vermont. There are species usually growing from the south like pitch pine and scrub oak (which you see in the picture.) Pitch pine has cones that are serotinous which means the open when they become hot, like in a fire. There is also red pine which usually grows in the northern part of Vermont and Canada.
On the walk to Black Mountain- a rare area because it is the only area which has granite. That's common in NH but not here. You can see places where the glacier plucked out pieces of the granite and left little crescents with the open side of the crescent where the gouge began. Because of all these differences, it grows laurel, similar to what grows in NH with the granite bedrock. The laurel were in bloom, just a little past peak. Oh, the laurel do smell.
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Yesterday we found this racoon scat on a walk on our land and it was covered with slugs. The scat was teaming with life.
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Thursday, June 25, 2009

I was in Guilford, VT and all along the trail, which was out in the open, grew sweet fern. I always loved its Latin name, coptonia peregrina. It has a wonderful smell, somewhat reminiscent of black birch, but not as strong a test of wintergreen.
The staghorn sumac were in bloom with their white flowers.
I traveled to Bunker Pond in East Dummerston, and there I saw a turtle basking in the sun with one baby turtle. Rumor has it that there had been eleven babies. By the time I got my binoculars out it was gone. Given the habitat of basking on a dry rolled bale of hay in the pond, I feel comfortably guessing that it was a painted turtle. I'll have to go out when there is more continuous sun.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Catalpa has been in bloom for several days now. Last year was the first time I smelled its flowers. "Absolutely delicious," my mother used to say. There is one tree that has a gigantic branch that leans over Route 5 in Dummerston. One of my friends is sure that the branch will crash down and hit a car. I'm more optimistic. It's often the case that the cells of underneath these branches have thicker cell walls and are more densely packed then the cells on the topmost section of the branch. One of these days I will take a picture of it.
Here is a picture of the gigantic blooms. Imagine a whole tree with these flowers.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

For the first time ever I looked under a Christmas Tree fern. A fern which is an evergreen, dark green, and considered once cut. The leaflets are not divided. I do not think of themselves as indicating a particular site, although I often feel near wet areas. Underneath the leaflets were a thick coated of spores near the edge. Probably the last third were spores.
We heard the sound a Red Shoulded hawk which goes Peer, Peer, Peer, in a descening pitch. Much different from the Red Tailed Hawk which goest Peerrrrr, Peeeeer, Peeeer.
Found a cetipede that was when folded up into a tight circle, looked like the most unusual caterpillar. But then we could see the number of feet and realzed it's true general species

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I led a walk for a group on my land. For the first time, I noticed a maidenhair fern near the power line instead of near the brook. Maidenhair fern grows in the richest sites.
In bloom today is geranium with its small purple flowers. So interesting they can grow in such low light.
The green orchis was just starting to bloom. It just had blooms that were ready to open up.
The blue cohosh was now in seed, a big round seedbed.
I saw raccoon scat about 500 feet north of the house. Of course, I didn't go near it, because of the virus it spreads.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

This flowering plant with a round head and opposite leaves was found adjacent to the wetland. I can't find what it is yet. Anyone have any ideas?
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What a find. Royal Fern growing in Millers "Pond.". It was quite extensive and the spores were abundant. According to Vermont Department of Forest Parks and Recreation since the spores are found at the top of the leaves they are wrongly called "Flowering Fern."
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Royal Fern "field" in Miller Pond. Quite extensive - forming
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On our land, I found fresh bear scat in a young hardwood stand. It was smaller than usual-- 1 1/4 inches and quite long, but as typical the ends were rounded. It was composed of just plant material
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Sunday, June 14, 2009

I solved a question that was bugging me for a week or so. The birdsong had a high and thin pitch and the song changes. Then I listened to Stokes tape and it was clearly a redstart. I couldn't see it, but I certainly heard it.

Earlier, while we were fixing the bridge on my nature path, we heard a rose-breasted grosbeak singing its heart out. It's clear sweet up and down voice is thrilling.

While in the garden we heard pee-a-wee, wood thrush, and yellow common throat.
Tomorrow, I hope to take some time to listen to Stoke's CD.

Honey bees arrived on our white clover and anemone. I know about the tragic loss of honey bees, so I was filled with hope as I looked at them

Friday, June 12, 2009


We heard the great sound of a baby barred owl. It is so different than the adult. Its a thin wheeet. Then a white admiral butterfly temporarily get stuck in our greenhouse.
Cliff rescued her.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hermit's nest
In Guilford, VT amidst the logging debris I found a hermit thrush's nest with 4 blue eggs. I marked the area with blue tape so the loggers will be aware, and not disturb it.
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In Guilford, VT in the wetland there was a "field" of irises.
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There were 2 red efts and 1 toad trying to climb a tree. Red efts are the terrestrial form of the newt which can live up to 20 years in water.

Speedwell, the tiny 4 petaled flower is in bloom.