Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Then A Deer Walked By

Well, would you look what I found! I was out at the edge of the meadow minding my own business taking more pictures of bees when I heard a strange noise on the other side of the meadow. When I looked up from the tall weeds in front of me I saw this deer walking past.

It didn't know I was there because these weeds between us were almost as tall as me. I lifted my camera to take pictures when I remembered that I could also do video. The video was the clear winner because the video quality is almost as good as the pictures anyway, and screenshots are easy to do.

So all of the pictures you see here are from the video below. I did have to fix them slightly to make them a little clearer, but they're still okay. And the pictures are here just in case you either don't want to see the video or you can't. The video is great though.

So we have a new episode of Rat TV! I watched from behind the tall weeds as this deer walked the length of the meadow. It stopped and looked in my direction a few times, but it was having trouble seeing me where I was standing. It knew there was something there, but it didn't quite know what. You can see the fear and confusion in its face as it walks past.

When I had to walk a little ways to catch up I lost the deer for a few seconds. The weeds were just too tall to see it in some places. I was also making a little too much noise because there were a few dead leaves on the ground that were unavoidable. The deer heard me, but it couldn't see me.

The deer was looking right at me when I found it again. I was still well hidden, but it knew I was there. The deer was reasonably sure that I wouldn't be a threat because the tall weeds were like a barrier between us, so it never moved any quicker than a walk. I then watched as it walked into the forest and was gone.

If you have ever seen deer very much, you can see a bit of worry in her face here. She was trying to keep an eye on me but still get where she was going. She couldn't resist looking over at me a few times to try to see where I was.

She knew right where she was going though. The forest she entered is where her and a few others live. They have a good hiding place in there on the other side of the treeline. This meadow is their home, and I find them here very often.

I threw in this last picture as a bonus. If you look closely you can see that her tongue is out. She is licking her lips in nervousness. She knows that she might be in danger, but she has to make it all the way home. I did my best not to scare her, but she was wise to think any other big creature was a threat.

Watch the way she flicks her tail in the video after every time she looks at me. You'll see it just after she turns away. That is a sign of her fear. She knows I am there, but she is trying to keep from panicking. I've had all sorts of reactions from deer, from a panicky run to aggression, and everything in between. I've even had a few try to be my friends. This was just another average, but fun encounter with a white-tailed deer.

Nature Center Magazine - It's time for another Nature Site Of The Week. This week's site is very special to me, WiseAcre Gardens. WiseAcre was my very first friend here in the blogging world. He came over and helped me out when I didn't know what to do yet. I have always been very grateful to him for that. And he has one of the most entertaining blogs I have ever seen. His blog is one you will definitely want to see.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Back To The Bugs

I have some bugs here just for you. Isn't that a present you've always wanted? Well, actually they're just bees. I couldn't afford any of the other kinds of bugs, being that they are so expensive this year. I had the money for them, but I just couldn't bear to part with it. I really love money.

And I like bees more than most bugs, so these are better anyway. It's either these bees or a handful of cockroaches. I think we'll just do the bees. And no, don't ask for cockroach pictures. I don't really have any pictures. A bumblebee in mid-flight is much better anyway. Trust me!

By the way, that plant with the fern-like leaves is called Partridge Pea. I'll tell you all about them in a future post. They really had me confused for awhile. I don't know a lot about plants, and these looked like the leaves of ferns, but I was very skeptical. And now I know I was right to be, because they're not ferns.

And here is another bumblebee sucking the nectar out of one of the flowers of the partridge pea. Take a close look at the front of the bee's head. You can see him drinking it up. Cool! Just like a butterfly. Bees just love these plants, and the plants need the bees to help them reproduce. A perfect pairing.

In the same meadow I found another bumblebee. But this time it was all over this coneflower. I have a slightly clearer picture than this, but I like this one better. There are so many different flowers in the meadow here, but the city government seems to be very controlling with what grows here.

Last year there were daisies and coneflowers, and a few other very similar kinds. Some of those have survived to this year, but now the meadow is dominated by the partridge pea. They keep coming and mowing the place. It takes awhile for things to start growing again, and the bigger animals that live here have a bit more trouble hiding when they do that. Luckily the forest is all around.

Speaking of bigger animals, I think I might bring you one of those very soon. Don't worry, I have plenty more bug pictures! But while I was on my latest bug hunt in this meadow I was delighted to get some video of something that crossed right in front of me. The tall plants here concealed me from its view pretty good. See you next time!

Nature Center Magazine - We have a Cool Nature Video today from somebody that many of you know very well. No, it's not me! Come on over and find out who it is. And watch the video.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cedar Waxwing

This Cedar Waxwing is the beautiful creature I promised you yesterday. I have so many pictures of bugs, but this wonderful bird just could not wait any longer. I found a whole flock of these birds while I was down looking at a river that flows from a big dam.

I saw them leisurely, but swiftly flying over the river, back and forth. I wondered what they were doing and I was also determined to get a few pictures too. I became very glad that these birds happened to be as curious of me as I was of them.

Many of them slowed down their flight to come over and see what I was doing. This didn't actually get me the pictures I wanted, but it did let me know I was going to have the chance to get them. What I ended up doing was getting my pictures whenever they would land in the trees across the river.

I couldn't really see what kind of birds they were with my own eyes, but the camera was able to do exactly what I wanted. I kept seeing curious flashes of yellow on these birds, and I wondered if maybe I had goldfinches or something similar.

The yellow turned out to be from their tails. And the rest of their body is that cream color that you see, but with some creamy yellow thrown in, mostly on the lower breast of the birds. You can also see some red bands on their wings. These birds may be the most colorful wild birds I've ever seen, even though most of their bodies seem to be that creamy tan color.

Something I really like about these Cedar Waxwings is that cool superhero mask they have, along with their head crest. The mask gives them an almost hawk-like appearance. So when I was trying to find out just what bird I had here, I wondered if maybe they were some kind of small hawk.

I doubted that last theory, but I didn't want to discount it too soon. There are very many birds I had never seen before, so it took me awhile to find their identity. I got lucky and had a little help in my search with these this time, so it became easier than usual for me.

When I first found these birds they were flying back and forth over the river. I think I said that before. I found out later that the birds were doing that so they could catch and eat the bugs that were also flying over that river. That's why I stopped the bug pictures for now. The birds ate them all!

These Cedar Waxwings are proof to me that nature is a never ending source for amazement. Just when I think I had see everything and I couldn't be surprised and delighted, along came these birds to remind me that I am only just getting started.

Cedar Waxwings may be the coolest looking birds I have ever discovered up to this point. They are at least my current favorite. I can't wait to see what will come next to give me a wonderful surprise. Nature, here I come!

Nature Center Magazine - It's time for a new Free Wallpaper. This time we have another cool butterfly photo. It's all for you!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Last Bumblebee

The last few days seem like a blur to me. They have gone by so fast. Maybe too fast for me. The flow of time has swept me up in the rapids and I have been pulled along out of control. It's a fun ride, but it's hard to see all the sights that fly past. I wish I could slow it all down so I could do all the things I want.

Yesterday I went on a bug hunt that kept me out until dark. The bugs all went home, but I was still out there wandering around. I noticed that it was getting quieter, but I was still far from home. I was enjoying myself so much that I was just in no hurry to come back to civilization. Has that ever happened to you?

The good thing was that before the bugs all went home for a night's rest I was able to get a few pictures. The bee above happened to be illuminated just right by the setting sun. The light shined off of it and helped it stand right out for my camera. I wish I could have gotten more like this.

But most of the pictures were more like this one. Now make no mistake, this picture also has some very good things about it. It's just that the bumblebee decided that the best tasting pollen was in between the leaves and the blossoms. That made for a difficult time of taking its picture.

But as for the good points, take a look at the end of its back legs! Click on the picture to get a closer look, if you want. It shows an excellent example of how these bees hold onto a plant or a flower. The bee actually has little grappling hooks on the ends of its legs so it can hold on.

Before you think that is maybe kind of repulsive, consider this. Mammals like us have feet or hands, with wiggling fingers and toes on the ends of our legs. And those have sharp nails or claws on the ends of them. Think about how strange or even scary these tentacle like appendages seem to a bee that only has simple grappling hooks.

Here is the innocent little bumblebee looking out from its hiding place at the big mushy giant two legged creature with the clawed tentacles pointing a big square weapon at him. No wonder they sometimes sting. I guess taking a step back from the poor frightened little guy is the best thing for both of us.

So I'm going to take that step back from the bee, and the other bugs, for this week. Tomorrow will be something very different from this bug week we've had. When I first saw what I will bring you tomorrow I was very surprised. It was partially because they were new and partially because of their great beauty. See you then.

Nature Center Magazine - The fifty states of the USA seem to be going by so fast in the series that Copas has been doing. We are already up to Maryland. Each state has its own natural beauty. Come see what Maryland has to offer for nature lovers.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bees And Wasps

It seems that this has been a buggy week for me, but not in a bad way at all. In my two previous posts I showed you some strange water bugs and a type of fly that looks very much like a bee, or something or other like that. Well, today I have two more kinds of bugs to show you.

What is that you say? I know I don't usually bring you more than one kind of animal at a time, but I'm feeling generous today. Besides, these two bugs have a common goal and a common place. This wasp you see up above was not alone on these plants that, if my memory serves me correctly, is goldenrod.

Take a look in the right of the picture. There is another set of legs there behind more of these plants. It may be another wasp, but it may be something completely different. There seemed to be a bug party out there this time. I'm glad there was, because it was bugs that I was searching for this time.

I know this second picture doesn't show the wasp very well, but it really serves two purposes. One is to show you that it is not the easiest thing in the world to get pictures of a flying bug that just doesn't seem to want to stop. Two is because I just like the picture. The wasp's behind has that shiny metallic quality that I talked about yesterday. Wasp's behind.


On this very same plant, after the wasp decided to leave me, came this bumblebee. It was interested in the same pollen that the wasp wanted. This stuff must be full of it. There were bugs everywhere. Including mosquitoes which weren't at all interested in pollen, but sweet sweet blood. My blood.

But I still stayed there long enough to get these few pictures of the bee and the wasp. I'm so brave. But I wish they would have stayed still for just a few minutes while I got the best bug pictures ever. But of course it just wasn't meant to bee this time. I eventually fled for the sake of the red stuff in my veins.

To bee or not to bee.

But I was still able to get this last picture before it became too much for me. Bee-came? Bee-fore? I think that's quite enough of bees on this site for today. But don't worry. I'll have more very soon. Along with more mosquito bites.

Since I've been featuring bugs here, I thought it might be a good idea to help everyone else along with their search for the buggiest creatures on earth. So I decided it was time to bring you a new online field guide that is all about bugs. You can find it over at Nature Center Magazine today. It's for North America, but I'll be searching for something for the rest of you too.

Nature Center Magazine - We have a new Online Field Guide for you today! It's difficult to bring you more than one article a day, and it is sometimes too much to want to read, so some features wait a little while before the next in the series. I'm happy to say that this one has waited long enough!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Flowers And The Bees

I love when I visit other sites on the web and see those pictures of bugs that are so good that the bug has an almost metallic look to it. They look to me like something that was created in an expensive studio or something. I remember wondering how they got the pictures to do that after the first few times I saw them.

I know now that it was just good photography that helped them accomplish this, and sometimes a little luck. My bee on this flower today almost has that quality that I like so much. It was maybe more luck than it was good, but I have a good camera to thank for this too.

You'll never guess how I got these pictures. Well, that is until I tell you. I was actually sitting in my truck by the side of the road taking pictures of these flowers when I saw the bugs all over them. The flowers look amazingly like dandelions, but that's not what they are at all. These are much taller and a little bigger around.

In the big nature park I was visiting there are so many places to see that I hike for a little while and then drive for a little while to get to my next hiking destination. I may be a little different than a lot of hikers because I'm mostly doing this to relax, and much of that relaxation consists of looking at all of this nature.

The hiking is mostly just how I get from place to place. I still try to follow some of the unwritten hiking rules though. Actually I don't know if there are even any unwritten rules other than you have to actually walk for a ways. But I make sure I at least do that. You'd be amazed at how fun it is.

But these pictures were between hikes. Or maybe between one bigger hike. These are the flowers I was looking at, by the way. You can see the bugs all over them if you look closely. I couldn't get any more closeup shots because I couldn't stay there by the side of the road for too long. So the bee was it for this time.

When you really get into watching them, bugs begin to be really fun subjects to observe. They have an alien, but familiar beauty to them. Closeup pictures really show that off very well. They look like something out of a science fiction movie. But some of them sometimes have very familiar features, with faces and other parts that look like any big animal out there. Very interesting.

Nature Center Magazine - Today is our Nature Site Of The Week. As many of you know, this feature was created to introduce you to some of the best nature sites on the internet. It was also created to help give those sites some valuable exposure. It has been working great. Some of those sites have now become your good friends. Come on over and see which great site is featured this week!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Strange Water Bugs

When I went down to take a few scenery pictures of this river I found something very strange. At least it was strange to me. In the water was, you guessed it, a group of strange water bugs. Not just a small group, but there were thousands of these bugs!

I was taking pictures of a few things down here, including the river. I saw a butterfly flitting around. I got a few good pictures of a beautiful looking dragonfly. But even with those fun creatures these were by far the most strange and interesting things I had seen that day.

Now these might not be so strange to some of you, but I've never seen any water bugs like these before. I guess the next thing to do would be to show them to you. So here we go!

This is a small sample of what I saw when I looked in the water. Pulling back a bit would show thousands of these bugs swimming around on the surface of this stream. They looked really creepy gliding around there. I wasn't planning on getting wet in the first place, but these bugs sealed the deal for me.

Here's an even closer shot of one of the bugs. I don't think those lines you see all around the bug are legs. I think they're only part of the depression in the water that the bug is making. Maybe they are the bug's legs, but I don't think so.

If you're wondering why I have such close up pictures but none from farther away that show the whole mass of these bugs, well, that's because the sun that was giving the water this same golden quality also made it too hard to get a good picture from farther away.

But wait! All is not lost! Over at Nature Center Magazine I have video of these bugs! The video shows everything you see here plus it shows them from a little farther away. You might get a better perspective of the amount of these creatures from that.

All of those dark spots under the water are the shadows of the bugs. It was hard to pick out the bugs from the shadows in the lcd screen of the camera. I still wonder what these strange bugs might be. They look like they almost have round bodies like beetles, but they're a little more elongated. Maybe they're a kind of cockroach. Yuck!

Still, they were very interesting because of the mystery behind their identities. I wouldn't touch them for fear that they might bite, and the fact that I never touch things while I'm out there. These bugs were fun to see, but I kept an eye on them the whole time.

Nature Center Magazine - The Mystery Continues! Our Cool Nature Video this week shows these same strange water bugs in action!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tattered Beauty

I found this butterfly at the beginning of the nature trail on one of my recent short hikes. It was flying from on Queen Ann's Lace plant to another. The first thing I noticed was that it would land for longer periods of time than most other butterflies.

A butterfly is usually a very elusive creature. They don't appear to have much speed but they never seem to stop moving. It can be very frustrating chasing a butterfly in the hopes of getting a picture. But not this one. It was content to just rest there right in front of me on these flowers.

This was a good sized butterfly; about as wide as my hand. So it was obviously easy to see. And what I saw was that it seemed to be sitting in a strange way. Not really very noticeable at first, but when you take in the whole picture you might think so. The poor thing was in tatters.

Other than the butterfly looking like a crumbling leaf, it seemed healthy enough. It was able to fly around just fine. And it would go fr4om flower to flower. It would spin slowly around on the flower as most butterflies like to do. Watch closely for this behavior some time. And the tattered condition just didn't seem to hinder its flight.

There are several things that could cause this ragged look. Maybe another animal attacked it, or there were several attacks. All unsuccessful, I might add. Maybe it is just from normal wear and tear of a lifetime. Think about what any animal in later stages of life might look.

But the main thing I noticed about this butterfly was that even with this tattered condition it was still a beautiful creature. I think of butterflies as the flowers of the animal kingdom. And maybe this butterfly was old, but it was still was a beautiful flower, just like the others.

Youth is generally associated with beauty, but is that always the real story? Maybe we think that way because youth symbolizes strong life. The real beauty is in life. Life is what we see as beauty when we dig down to our depths and really think about it. Life is our greatest gift. It's as precious and as delicate as this butterfly.

Nature Center Magazine - Today's Free Wallpaper brings us the return of the photos of Steve of Out On The Prairie. He's an excellent photographer with a vast knowledge of nature. Take a look!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Giant Robber Fly

An adventure doesn't stop even at the end. I found this strange bug on the hood of my truck after was finished in the nature park. I was about to get in the truck when I saw it there. It's obviously some sort of flying insect, but I had no idea what kind it was at the time. I know now that it is called a Robber Fly. I have also read that it is a type or robber fly known as a Red Footed Cannibalfly.

If you think this robber fly looks big, that's because it is kind of big. It looked to be about the same length as a bumblebee. That tail looks kind of like a scary stinger, but I'm pretty sure it's just a long tail, an ovipositor. That doesn't mean this robber fly isn't something to be avoided though. They can bite.

This one didn't seem to be very bothered by my presence there. That's usually a sign that a creature either can defend itself pretty well or that it's sick. This bug was definitely not sick. So I decided that it might be wise to watch it closely while I took my pictures of this ugly bug.

It soon flew off the truck, and I thought I had lost it, but then it landed on the sidewalk right in front. I made sure to take the opportunity to get a few more pictures. I thought I recognized this thing, but I wasn't sure. It took me quite a while to find out what it was though, but I did.

This particular fly is a killer. It stabs other insects with its proboscis and injects them with venom, which liquefies their insides. Then it uses the proboscis to suck out the liquid. A giant robber fly particularly likes to eat bees.

It waits on a perch near flowers where it can see bees from above. It will then swoop down and grab them right out of the sky. When it's done eating the bee, it drops them onto the ground. They are known to leave bunches of bees near the same close area.

One thing to remember is that I am never sure what I have here. I could be wrong about this bug. It's always a good idea to check for yourself if you are really interested. There are plenty of resources on the internet to help you find out about bugs. One of these days I'll share a few with you over at Nature Center Magazine. And if you look in my archives here you might be able to find a few.

Today's bug was a truly ugly creature. Nature isn't always pretty. Tomorrow I'll bring you something more on the pretty side of nature. After all, it's mostly the beauty we like to focus on anyway. But sometimes we have to remember that the ugly is out there too, like this robber fly.

Nature Center Magazine - Today Copas takes us on a tour of the state of Maine. Maine is known for its beautiful nature, so this should be good one.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Walk With Me

Take a step outside and breath the air. We're on our way. Today I'm going to show you a little bit of what my typical walk through a nature park looks like. I don't stay for a long time on a typical day. Just a walk through to freshen my day.

The picture above is the first thing I see at the park when I get out of my truck. I always take at least one picture here as a place marker for my records. And sometimes that place mark picture turns out great. You never know what might greet you on a journey, even at the beginning.

This little hike is usually a quiet one. Nature is mostly a quiet activity. The quiet and peacefulness is what brings contentment and relaxation to you while your here. Noise and commotion can break that feeling, but we will keep this gentle and relaxed.

After going around a corner we see the beginning of the forest. This is a section full of young trees that are very close together. It's hard to see very far through this thick forest. That helps give the warm comforting feeling of being alone in this kind of place.

Some people might be afraid to have this feeling of isolation and darkness. But to me it's like snuggling up under the blankets on a chilly night. You know the cold city is beyond the blankets that are these trees, but you are nice and warm and protected inside this place.

As we come farther into the forest, and what's left of the noise of the city is closed off behind us, we begin to hear the stirrings of our friends who live here. Soon enough we see some of them come out to see who their new visitor is.

All squirrels are very curious little creatures That curiosity is a sign of intelligence. They know they are small so they don't stick around for very long. They just want to know what's going on, and to see the new creature that has come to the forest. They always run away, but still get at least a second look before leaving for good.

After making our way through the forest, and seeing many many more sights than I can show you in one post, we find ourselves back out in the open.This field is always full of flowers in warmer months of the year. Birds love this place more than almost any other in the park. And this is where a small herd of deer live.

After crossing the meadow we find ourselves at the very back of the park.

This is where our journey back is at an end. We are now on a path that crosses to the side and takes us to the other side of the park. This is the most hilly part of the park. As we walk down this path a wind whips whips towards us between the hills.

This is a beautiful section of the park, but you have to see it from a particular angle to make it so. Just to the left of this picture and through the trees is a neighborhood of houses. The thick trees makes it easy to ignore, but you still know they are there.

Soon enough we get through the path, with the hint of civilization behind us once again. The path opens up into the wonderful scene of this small lake. Here is where we can find wildlife all around. While it can't be seen from this picture, there is a big bird sitting on a branch that is poking out of the water near those big trees towards the left of the picture.

After a long relaxed look at this lake we begin our journey back to the front of the park. The animals of the forest, now used to our presence, begin to come out to be seen a little bit more. They seem to understand why we came here now, and they sense that we mean no harm.

And when we make our way back to the front of the park we are full of a feeling of utter peace and contentment. We can go back home feeling relaxed and refreshed. That is what an everyday adventure is all about.

Nature Center Magazine - We have an all new feature for you today. We're going to show you some fun nature projects anyone can do. For the first one we'll show you how to make rain in a jar.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

About The Rat Suit

There's something I have to say. Never trust a talking squirrel! Flynn promised me he wouldn't show those pictures, but I come back today and see myself staring back at me! I would have never let him on here if I knew he was going to do that! I can't tell you how angry I am right now!

Before I go on I need to explain something. I know I've mentioned wearing that rat suit a few times in the past. The problem is that I put it on as a joke a few years ago, and the zipper got stuck! I haven't been able to get it off since then! And let me tell you, it's beginning to smell kind of bad in here.

Oh, at first everyone I met either laughed at me or ran away in fear. But now they see me and just shake their heads. Some of them try to help me out of here, but nobody seems to be able to get that darn zipper loose. How would you like to go around in public stuck in a rat suit. All I can do is treat it all as a big joke.

So there's my terrible secret. Now you know.

That rotten little squirrel didn't have to show those pictures to everybody. When he first approached me about writing his own post I was skeptical. I suspected he was going to do this. But after hearing him talk, his huge magnetic personality just got to me. I think he may be the greatest story teller ever, as long as you can get past all the bragging he does.

There's just something about Flynn that makes you want to believe every word he says, and then you never want him to stop. I can see why all the squirrels worship him the way they do. But I wish he would have never focused his attention on me. If it wasn't for that blasted zipper!

So finally, do any of you have any ideas on how I can get this thing off? Maybe some 3 in 1 oil or something? Or a pair of scissors? I can't really work the scissors myself because of the big gloves. My fingers don't fit. I tried a hacksaw, but man, did that hurt!

Finally, I have one last thing to say about this. Get me out of heeeere!!!

Nature Center Magazine - You don't want to miss the Nature Site Of the Week today. As expected, there is a new website to discover. Come over and find out about it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Flynn The Conqueror

Hello. I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Flynn. But I'm sure you've already heard of me. I'm famous all over the world. Every squirrel knows who I am. I'm their hero, fantastic Flynn. I'm the daring superstar who performs feats of bravery like no one else ever before!

Maybe you human giants don't know me quite so well, yet! Just to give you an example, That guy Indiana Jones aspires to be the human version of me. He gives a good try, but he's not even close. I bet he never rode on a dog's back before! That was an amusing little stunt that I did on my off time.

And I'm sure you've seen me on your primitive television at one time or another. I sometimes like to go and run around on the playing field at your sporting events. It drives you giants crazy but it sure is funny sometimes. Just think of all of those giant sports players chasing me around and around! They never catch me though. Never!

Oh, you probably want to know exactly why I'm here today. Well, there is this strange guy you all know as Ratty. I've been seeing this weirdo in the forests for the past few years. He wanders around taking pictures of all the animals, and a few other things. Last year I thought it would be funny to run right up to him and pose for a few pictures. That got old, so to really freak him out I stole a camera from some giant's attic and decided to do it right back to him. You wanna see?

Here he is looking highly surprised at the sight of me standing there with my own camera! He was just strolling along when I popped out there and began taking pictures of him! Take a look at him! That guy is a strange one. He actually walks around out there with a mouse costume on! I know a few real mice, and he is no mouse. They would be highly insulted! I gotta admit that it's kinda funny though.

Just think of what all you other giants think when you see him! You'd run away as if you saw a squirrel with a camera or something! I know you wouldn't want to meet him in the woods! And you don't know how many of my fans were just rolling on the ground laughing when he saw me standing there waiting for him!

I thought he was going to run away. But then he looked at me for a second and yelled some gibberish at me about not taking his picture because he was too embarrassed to be seen in a rat suit. You think he was embarrassed? You should have seen the poor squirrel that fell out of the tree because he was laughing so hard! That's something to be embarrassed about!

I'd stay a little longer and tell you a few stories about my favorite subject, me, but I know that I need to keep it short. I told that kook Ratty that I wasn't going to share these pictures of him, but would you keep these to yourself? I couldn't pass up an opportunity like this. This was pure gold!

I'll say goodbye with one last note. I'm sure you giants will be seeing me soon. Whenever a squirrel gets into your house, it's me. If one of us runs right at you to scare you, it's me. It's not because I'm a bad guy. It's because I'm a daring adventurer. You will soon become one of my many adoring fans, just like the squirrels and everyone else. See you soon!

Nature Center Magazine - Did you ever wonder if humans were the only creatures that could laugh? Well wonder no more! Apes giggle like humans! That's our Cool Nature Video for this week.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Close To A Blue Jay

I mentioned a few weeks ago about seeing some Blue Jays that seemed abnormally huge. I'm sure you don't remember because it was just a brief mention and I didn't even get any pictures. They seemed to be waiting there for me just so they could fly off at just the right time for me to miss getting the pictures.

Well what those mean old blue jays didn't know was that my war with this particular type of birds was over last spring when I got the long awaited pictures that I wanted. Still, the size of this new group was intriguing. I wondered why they were so much bigger than I expected them to be. Or if maybe the answer was much simpler than I imagined.

Even though I have to say right now that I did not do one bit of checking, I'm sure the real answer is that I just never have been close enough to a blue jay to realize that they were so big. I mean, they aren't the size of a hawk or other bigger bird. They're just bigger than most of the smaller birds, like American Robins. Not much bigger though. Actually some robins get this big.

Anyway, I finally did get the chance to get a closer look at a few blue jays. These birds were in an area of Kensington Metropark where there are a lot of people. So the blue jays and other creatures didn't seem to be very afraid. The place is a good location to spot wild animals, but the animals aren't exactly as wild as most.

At least the blue jays didn't fly down and try to land on my shoulder or my head or something like that. That would have freaked me out a little. This was right near where the squirrel from yesterday's post was. Those squirrels and the chipmunks were a little more aggressive than the blue jays there. That very much did freak me out at first.

This blue jay seemed to be content to just stay up in the tree and watch everything that went on down below. When it finally decided to fly away I saw that there were about a half dozen of them altogether. Maybe they were hoping that someone would drop a little food down for them too. That someone wouldn't be me. I don't feed the animals while I'm out on the trail. At home is one thing. At a nature park is another.

I tried to get a good picture with his crest up for you to see, but this is the best I could do. It's still good, but I wanted a little more. That will come in time. I'm just glad I was able to get so close. He was still up quite high in the tree though. My camera does well for me in that regard.

Now, many of you might have noticed this week that I've been able to visit and comment at your blogs a little more. That is partially because of the fact that I stopped posting on the weekends to give myself a rest from blogging. It has helped quite a bit because I'm feeling a little less pressed for time now. I've taken that attitude of getting a bit of rest with everything else too so I have a much better feeling about a lot of things now.

And lastly, I just had a meeting with a fox squirrel named Flynn. You might remember him last when I caught him pointing a camera at me while I was in the forest taking my own pictures. He swears he has no pictures of me, but he has asked if he could do a guest post here Monday. I don't really know what he has in mind, but I figured it would be a great thing to help a squirrel actually talk to humans. So with no questions asked I'm going to turn this blog over to Flynn for Monday.

Nature Center Magazine - Mushrooms. They aren't just for breakfast anymore, or probably ever. But for Free Wallpaper they're just fine.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Squirrel On A Pole

So now you know. It was the dead tree all along. Not only did this make what I hope was a fun little game, but it also has a story to go along with it that's at least slightly amusing. The squirrel you see in this picture is very high up on that tree. Squirrels go up trees all the time, but this time it's a little bit different.

I have now brought you three previous posts from the same place and time as this supposedly innocent little squirrel. Yesterday was the game of the Hidden Squirrel. That's him. About ten days ago was the story of the Happy Hungry Squirrel that was one of many that were being fed by passers by. Over at Nature Center Magazine I put up a video of squirrels having a knock down drag out fight from the same day!

Before I actually tell you why this squirrel is up there on this dead tree, let's see the results of the game, and who won.

As you can see, this is a copy of the same picture from yesterday's game. This time I have circled the area where the squirrel is hiding so you know where it is. This picture isn't of the same good quality as the one from yesterday, so if you want to get another close look at the squirrel in the picture, you can see it there. It is quite visible. I checked.

You may have your doubts about how easy the game was this time, but to remove those doubts I want to announce that we have one winner of the game. Yup, one person was able to at least make an excellent guess. And who is that person? Drum roll please!

From her comment it sounded like she only guessed, but what a great guess it was! So right after you're finished here, go take a look at her blog and leave her lots of nice comments. Maybe you might even want to join her followers list. I was one of the first on that list.

On to the story. I'll try to keep it short.

Okay, when I walked over to this area of the mass feeding of the many squirrels, there were food frenzied squirrels running around all over. They were happy. They were fighting. They were running away! One such squirrel was this little guy who was doing all three.

This angry little varmint grabbed as many seeds as it could and ran for its life! It ran right up this tree to safety. But that wasn't the end for this little beastie. No! He perched up on top of this giant tree stump and growled and chirped at any other creature that dared to walk by.

And when he finished the seeds that he had taken with him to his lair up in the sky, he ran right back down the side of this tree and fought his way to more of that beautiful bounty of seeds. This is obviously one smart little squirrel. He was soon back up on his perch, growling and screeching at all comers. And that's exactly why he is up there.

Now considering the game from yesterday a little more, and to be fair to the rest of you who chose to make a guess, there were dozens of squirrels running around all over the place. So there may be squirrels hidden all over that picture. I checked your guesses and didn't find anything more than ol' Rocky, there on the tree, but there may be many more little sneakers in that picture.

So that's everything. A squirrel. A link to a cool blog. A story. And a lot of nonsense to go along with it. See you on the other side.

And now here's something we hope you'll really like!

Nature Center Magazine - Copas isn't a moose, but he likes horses a lot. Is that close enough? Come on over and see what he's discovered in the state of Louisiana!