Tuesday, August 31, 2010
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 crossing the meadow we find ourselves at the very back of the park.
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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?
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'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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!