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

In the woods we return to reason and faith-Emerson


Monday, November 26, 2012

In sheltered spots a few Witch Hazel blossoms can still be found. These fertilized flowers will not start to form seed pods until next spring and the seeds will mature late next summer. When the mature seed pods eventually dry out, tension builds within the pod until it pops open explosively, casting seeds away from the parent plant.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


The dried heads of Thimbleweed (Anemone virginiana) stand ready to spread seeds on the November wind. John

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Today during my ramble I picked up this decapitated but nevertheless rather pretty snail shell along the shore of a pond.
Perhaps a Chinese Mystery Snail (?) so called because the species gives birth to live young rather than laying eggs in "normal" snail fashion.
Mystery snails were imported into the US by the aquarium industry and are quickly spreading nationwide.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"Frost Flowers" graced the West River bike trail this am. Frost flowers form when moisture is wicked up the dried stem of a Frostweed and freezes as it's extruded through splits in the stem, forming frothy ribbon-candy shapes.
 Frost flowers can also form on a wide array of other woody weeds. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

11.01.12 Utah: bison, jackrabbit and owl

11.01.12   Antelope Island, a 28,000A island in The Great Salt Lake, is home to one of the largest public-owned bison herds in the U.S.  Managed by the Department of Wildlife Resources, the 500-700 animals are rounded up annually (this year they used horses to herd them in), given a health inspection, vaccinated as needed; and to maintain a balance of gender and ages, a number of animals are selected out for auction.  Some will go to private ranches to increase their herd; others will use meat.  Proceeds from the sale go to support the island's herd.   We watched as some of the animals were taken into the corral for their check-up.  The auction was held the following day.   The older, larger males were not part of the round-up; one of these is pictured.

            Startled from  feeding on Gray rabbit brush, the jackrabbit hopped across the sagebrush and rabbit brush-covered terrain right in front of me.   A pair of Great horned owls that nested at Garr Ranch were spending the day high in the branches of two of the scarce trees on the island.   Coyote,  Pronghorn antelope, a couple of immature bald eagles, and a Harrier completes the day's sightings at this unique site.