Thursday, April 13, 2017

Some Random Nature

Today I decided to show you some random nature stuff I found. This is a very good thing because I originally planned on making each of these an individual post. Instead, I'm going to take the lazy way out and give it all to you in one shot. And I think you'll like that.

The bird you see above is called a Myrtle Warbler. It's not the best picture of it, but it's the only one I have. And this is the only time I ever saw one of these birds. I didn't know what this bird was for awhile. And a search turned up nothing. Finally, my blogging friend Sharkbytes identified it for me. You can find a better picture she took here.

So why am I bringing you these geese? They are just two geese standing on top of Carpenter Lake Dam in Michigan. Well, What we have here are geese doing what geese do best. These poop machines are showing why so many people dislike them wherever they go.

I still like them though because rain always cleans the dam and they don't fill that nature park too much with their droppings. My friends the geese. They love what they do.

S is for snake. But after about one-tenth of a second, I knew this was not. What it is is a twig that looks like an S. So S is really for Sharkbytes because it was her that first looked for letters in nature, and now I do it too when I see something even close. I've been giving Sharkbytes lots of credit today so visit her blog when you're done here.

My last little prize for you today is this beautiful little chipmunk. I haven't seen a chipmunk in a long time. I don't think we have them around here. But when I did see them this little fella thought he could hide from me. But no little critter can long evade the watchful gaze of an Everyday Adventurer.

I tried to add one more picture for you, but blogger just wasn't cooperating anymore, so I guess it's time to stop. That's about as random as it gets. I'll talk to you later.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Squirrel Behavior

I've had comments over the years wondering what behavioral differences I've noticed in the different types of squirrels I've encountered. Most of these comments are from several years ago when I saw lots of squirrels running around out there. I had become somewhat of an authority on squirrels. It's too hard to just give my thoughts on these fun little critters as short answers in the comments section, so I decided to write a post about this very subject of squirrel behavior.

The first thing I want to say about it is that these are my own personal observations about squirrels in my old area in Michigan. It may be different for other squirrels in other places and environments, even though they seem about the same here in Iowa. The squirrels I encounter are all forest dwellers, so they're a little wilder than a typical neighborhood squirrel. So let's see what I've noticed about each of them!

I'll start with the fox squirrels. These are the most abundant squirrels in my area. I grew up with them in my neighborhoods, and they were also there in the forests I visited. I think the fox squirrels are the most outgoing of all the squirrels I've seen. They're not afraid to approach a human. And they will even seem to try to interact with me a little bit when they are brave enough to come close.

They seem very friendly, but they are feisty too so they can have a temper. They're not at all afraid to show their anger at a person, chattering away as if they're yelling angrily at you. They're also not quick to run away. They are perfectly willing to challenge any human if they feel the need.

The picture above is an eastern gray squirrel. I don't have much experience with them because they're not as common where I've been as they are other places. For that reason, I wrote a post some years back mistaking this one for a fox squirrel. That white eye ring gives it away as a gray though.

I soon began to see more of these gray squirrels. They seem a little more afraid of humans than the fox squirrels. That may be because they were not as numerous there as the fox squirrels are. I usually only caught glimpses of them in the thick bushes and trees. When they came out, they maintained a distance from me. The picture above is the best one for these grays that I have so far. He ran away soon after.

This next squirrel above is the mysterious black squirrel. His tail looks reddish because the sun is shining brightly from behind him.  These are actually just gray squirrels with black fur. They keep in tight-knit groups, but around my old forest they are numerous. I seem to have lived in the middle of one very large population of black squirrels. Not many people can say that.

Black squirrels there in the forest were very wary of humans. I almost never saw them up close. The ones I saw in my neighborhood were a little more outgoing. The forest blacks behave very similarly to the grays. The only difference is that there are too many black squirrels to stay hidden for long. They don't like to approach humans, and they run away to hide if they would see me watching them, even from a distance. These squirrels don't like to be alone though. Usually, if I see one black squirrel, there are more very near.

And lastly, there is the American red squirrel. These are the cutest squirrels I've ever seen. They are smaller than all the rest here. The fox squirrel being the largest is at least twice as big, while the grays and blacks are not quite as big as the foxes. I consider these reds to be the most intriguing little squirrels of all.

Red squirrels seem to be very solitary little creatures. I never see more than one at a time. All the others can be found together in groups at times. These reds also seem to be the most curious. They scare very easily though. They will run and hide, but soon you will see the squirrel pop its head out to look at you. Sometimes they will even come back to get a look before scurrying off again. This behavior seems to match chipmunks more than the other types of squirrel.

The only other type of squirrel I've heard of in places where I've lived is the flying squirrel. I have never seen one of them because they are nocturnal. One of those would be a wonderful sight to see though. Wouldn't it be great to see a squirrel gliding through the air?

This is my general observation on the species of squirrels I've encountered. I'm sure I could come up with more, but this probably covers it the best in blogging length. And like I said before, their behavior may be radically different where you live. Different environments can influence any animal's behavior. How do the squirrels behave where you live?

Thanks to everyone who has ever asked about squirrels. Those comments have always been much appreciated. I'll leave you today with a photo of a very curious, but wary, little red squirrel.

Th-th-th-that's all folks!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Legendary Black Squirrel

Many of you have seen lots of squirrels before. But have you ever seen a black squirrel? These little critters are kind of rare. As far as I know you have to live in the United States to ever see one. And even then you might never get a look.

You might even live within a mile or two of these little guys and you'd never know they exist. They live in small communities and never seem to venture far from them. So far I've found them in exactly two places. I know there are more, but that's my personal experience.

I'll tell you that these dark little squirrels seem so mysterious just from their appearance. It's just that I never imagined that black squirrels existed until what is now many years ago when I finally saw my first one. I was just so amazed and excited to see that dark little figure running around my new neighborhood so long ago.

These two pictures of this black squirrel are the best I've ever taken. I was able to get these because I took a trip to a far away island where the squirrels are so numerous that they lounge around on the grass right alongside the human visitors to this strange and squirrely place. This is not a joke. It really happened.

That place has all of the major types of squirrels I've seen. And they are not afraid of humans even a little. When the squirrels saw me get out of my truck several of them came running up to greet me. I thought it was kind of creepy so I got back in the truck.

I was still able to get many excellent squirrel pictures. But I insisted on keeping my distance. I just don't think wild animals should be that comfortable with humans. I don't think it's good for them. Maybe I'm mistaken. I guess dogs were wild at one time too. Now they're our best friends. Who knows? Maybe one day we'll all have our own pet squirrels. I'll talk to you later.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Old Man Of The Forest

I'd like to introduce you to Freeman. Freeman appears to be a very old squirrel of the fox variety. I guess you could say that he's the old man of the forest. He still gets around pretty well for an old man, but the signs of his age are still there nonetheless.

If you take a very close look just above his eyes you can see that the hair is just a little more gray than other fox squirrels might be. The rest of his fur also seems to be tinged with a little gray. His face has a bit of a weathered look that you might also find in very old human males.

Here's a special episode of Rat TV that features Freeman the wise old squirrel. He may not get around as well as some of the youngsters, but you'd never know it, you young whippersnapper! Videos can sometimes give us a better insight into these animals of the forest, especially the standouts like Freeman.

Take a look right behind his ears there. That is a patch of gray fur that Freeman is sporting. Also look at the top of his back and all over his tail. You can see a touch of gray all over him. I wonder how old this guy really is.

Take a look at Freeman's bent ears. I've seen old men with ears that look just like that. Sometimes these guys seem grumpy, but they really aren't. Stop and listen to what they have to say some time. They know a lot more than you do. A squirrel like Freeman could tell you how everything works.

Oh wait, I think he sees me! Hey there little guy...

"Hey there, you kid! Get off my lawn! ...Ah, wait a minute. Did I ever tell you about the time me and my brother took on five, no six, yup six other squirrels? They got too close to our tree and started running their mouths. I knocked out every last one of them, and my brother threw them in the ditch. It was one of the best times..."

Good old Freeman. I could listen to his stories for hours, but right now it's time to go. I'll talk to you later.

"Hey, you youngsters! Wash your ears or potatoes will start to grow from them!"

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Greedy Little Squirrel

I'm going to tell you a true story of a lone little squirrel and a bunch of big noisy geese. It all began at the front of the nature trail at a place called Berry Lake. About a dozen geese were milling around an as yet unknown small furry animal for some strange reason.

The geese would take turns honking at the poor little creature. Each one would move in close, then the little furry critter would let out a squeal and the lead goose would move back away. The geese all looked at the little animal with great envy, but the poor determined little creature held its ground. I wondered what the fuss was all about, so I moved in for a closer look.

And there I found a lone little squirrel hovering over what looked like a mound of cornbread. Some naughty human decided to feed these animals, and they were now fighting over their delicious prize. I didn't think this poor little squirrel had a chance at defending itself against the villainous geese. But the sweet little squirrel had a secret.

Only the little squirrel knew it, but the dainty little squirrel was really half greedy pig. Oink!

The geese only wanted their share of the yummy cornbread. But the greedy little squirrel was hoarding it, and he just wouldn't share.

When the big scary human in the creepy rat suit moved in closer the sweet little piggish squirrel leaped to his feet! The squirrel would defend his food against anything or anyone. The human was at least smart enough to keep a little bit of distance because the kind little squirrel was acting very mean and aggressive now.

But even though the squirrel was determined to steal all of the cornbread for himself, he knew when he was defeated. All of those geese, and now a rat suited human were all too much to defend his prize against. So the cute little squirrel grabbed up as much of his prize as he could and prepared to run.

Before he left, the courageous little squirrel looked up at the evil human so he could grin in triumph, but his mouth was just too full of cornbread to pull off this feat. So the sweet little squirrel gathered as much of his dignity as he could muster and he fled into the trees.

The End

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Mushroom Strikes Back

I'm coming to you from what seems like a frozen planet. That seems fitting because those Strikes Back movies seem to always start off from places like that. Hey, I talked about an old science fiction movie in my last post about mushrooms too. Maybe that gives you a little insight into the way I think.

This new adventure didn't happen a long time ago in a nature park far far away. This one was just maybe a week or two ago right around here somewhere. These mushrooms are that kind that grow on the sides of trees. In this case these mushrooms are growing on a bunch of the firewood stacked up out back.

I seem to see this type of mushroom in the winter quite a bit. I wonder if they're dead or just in some sort of frozen suspended animation. Most other mushrooms I've seen in warmer weather seem to shrivel up into nothing and disappear after awhile.

These particular mushrooms are destined to burn up in a fiery inferno in one of two wood stoves. The only real question is, which one? We may never find out until the winter of next year. This one seems to be growing short.

And I know these aren't the most beautiful pictures that have ever existed. I've been wondering lately if maybe I've lost my eye for the beauty of nature. If so then I'll definitely have to find it again this year sometime. That may be a thing that's been long overdue.

Maybe it would help if I could wake up really early and find a bird perched on top of one of these wood piles. Or maybe I should get back in touch with the neighborhood squirrels. Making friends with the local squirrels always seems to help the nature deficient.

Or maybe I could just write lots of stuff about my new found friends the mushrooms. That seems to be working for one of my good blogger friends. No, I'd be terrible at that. I'll leave it to the guy who seems to be very talented at it. My momentary diversion into mushroom territory has to be only temporary and occasional.

Now I'll have to decide what I'm going to do next. Maybe I'll sit out back waiting for the squirrels. I like squirrels.

I'll talk to you later.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Alien Fire Mushrooms

I don't usually post pictures of mushrooms, but sometimes there are things that just seem to jump right out at me, so I feel that I have to share them. While I was on a short hike at a nearby nature park a few years back I saw an orange glow off to my left in the forest.

As I looked closer that glow seemed to be coming from a tree stump. In fact, the glow was not one solid glow, but several orange glows. I wondered what it could be, but it was really too far for me to figure it out by myself. I used my camera to try and find out, and the picture above is the result. I still couldn't figure it out at the time though.

I began to suspect what was making this eerie glow in the forest, but I decided that maybe I should make sure by getting a closer look. Besides, I thought this little adventure might just make a good story for you. I think I was right, but there's something you may be thinking right now. If you're not then I'll tell you.

Usually in the movies when a guy who is all alone in the forest decides to get a closer look at a strange far off glow it doesn't end well for him. That's how it is in the movies I've seen anyway. What would usually happen is that he would find out that it was an evil skin eating alien from Uranus, or something or other like that.

I remember seeing a movie where people were stranded on a strange planet and eventually ran out of food. The only things that looked like they might be edible were some strange mushrooms. Wouldn't you know it, one of them decided to eat a few. Guess what happened.

That first person began to turn into a mushroom creature. The rest of them locked themselves in their space ship for awhile but eventually ventured out again. You know what happens in a movie like that. Each of them one by one decided to sample the mushrooms for themselves, don't ask me why, and turned into mushroom creatures.

Finally the last guy was left. He was the narrator of the movie. He resisted for a very long time. Too long in a bad movie that was done being entertaining long ago. Finally he succumbed to hunger. The last line the narrator spoke was, "I ate them!!!" Then they showed his face. He was a mushroom creature.

I guess that's why you shouldn't eat strange mushrooms that you find somewhere. Or any other strange plant. I always assume that if I don't know what it is then it is probably poisonous. And sometimes even if I think it's fine, then it's still poisonous. Remember that.

But sometimes it doesn't hurt to get a closer look at something. Chances are it won't be a soul sucking alien from Crapton 7. As long as you look but don't touch you should be just fine. And watch where you step too! There was poison ivy where I was when I saw these mushrooms. And remember that snakes could be lurking near too.

As long as you're careful the forest can be your friend. But if you don't pay attention to where you are going or what you touch you could find your worst enemy. Don't ever make an enemy out of your best friend. All it takes is a little thought. Or you could find yourself in the evil clutches of glowing alien mushrooms. It's your choice.

They are kind of beautiful though, aren't they? I wonder how they taste.

I'll talk to you later.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Winter Sunset

It's interesting to see the difference between what the eye sees and what the camera sees. When I looked at this sunset with my own eyes the Sun was a huge dark orange ball, much bigger than what you see here. The edges of this great orb were also more defined. It didn't give nearly the obscure glow that the camera sees.

I think the pictures I took are just fine, but I liked what my eyes saw much better. This isn't the most remarkable sunset you'll ever see, and it's also not the best I've seen, but all sunsets are nice to look at. It's unique to me because it's the first one I've gotten pictures of when there was snow on the ground.

Growing up in the city for most of my life I never really got to see any good sunsets. There were always buildings of some kind in the way. Because of this getting a picture of a sunset, any sunset was always a major goal of mine. So while these may not seem to be very spectacular pictures to anybody else, they are the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for me.

We all have dreams that maybe don't seem special to others, or maybe they do in some cases, but it can be the greatest feeling when we can realize those dreams. Some of my dreams are big and some are small. I'd like to see an owl for myself one day. I've never seen one except in video or pictures. I'd also like to be a billionaire. One of these two is a little easier to do than the other for me. I'm not sure which one.

Today I'm just happy that I got a few sunset pictures. Sure I've gotten sunset pictures before. But now it seems like a big thing every time I get another. There are lots of things in nature that are like that for me. In that way I'm delighted every time I go outside. Nature is such a wonderful thing. I'll talk to you later.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Alice And The Frozen Dragons

I want to take you back some years to one of my more popular adventures with my old friend Alice who has now gone off to Wonderland to have exciting adventures of her own. I still hear from her now and then about some of the fun things she's doing now, but those are stories for her to tell.

What is it that Alice is staring at? While I was walking down the new walkway, I saw her looking at something off to the side of the railing. I wondered if she spotted a duck or something walking around down there.

She seemed pretty interested in what it was because when I asked her she didn't seem to hear me for a second. I asked her again and she said to come and take a look. I wasn't sure what I would find because she has a habit of dragging parts of Wonderland along with her on our trips.

As I got closer, I noticed something big and dark down there. It wasn't moving so I knew I needed to find out what was going on. We had not seen any animals out here yet, so I didn't think it was anything that might be alive.

When I got there all I saw were these broken tree branches that were half submerged in the ice of the lake. For some reason they looked strangely familiar though. I couldn't figure it out, and I didn't know why Alice was so interested in them.

She said that winter is a bad time for them. I asked her what she was talking about. She said that some of the dragons didn't like the cold, and they easily froze to death unless they found shelter. I told her that it was only a piece of wood.

She said that wood was what dragons turned into when they died. She said that this one must have been swimming around in the lake when it froze. Now it is stuck there forever, but none of the rest of us know that this wood used to be a dragon.

Here's another poor unfortunate dragon that peaked up out of it's den at the wrong time. Alice spotted this one right away too. She walked over to check on it, and said that it was now turned into wood too.

I asked her if she knew why they turned into wood. She looked at me as if I were stupid and said, "Because they're dead." I thought right then that I should go get the Red Queen after her. That would teach her a lesson.

Instead, I asked again, why is it wood that they turn into when they die? Then she finally explained that it was because they dried out and became petrified. That was also the reason why we never find any dead dragons lying around.

I guess that answered that question. Now we all know what happens to dragons when they die, right from the thoughts of Alice. I wonder if she'll see any other interesting creatures on our next trip together.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Even Cooler Than Last Time

I've not been quite as quick to post this one as I'd hoped, but here it finally is. Anyway, last time I said I'd try to get some cooler pictures for this next post. And here they are! You can't get much cooler than snow, snow, and more snow. You're looking at about ten inches of the white stuff in these pictures.

Just before this snowstorm I was thinking about how lucky I was that we haven't had much snow around here yet. There were some bricks out at the back of my property that I had been planning on collecting for a little project. But that's all going to have to wait now until the snow melts. The waiting is the hardest part.

So now I'm going to have to figure out what I'm going to do until then. Snow just doesn't melt overnight you know. I considered fishing around in the snow for those bricks, but I don't think that's really going to work well. I guess I'll just have to do something else.

The dog really likes playing in the snow. I could stand out there throwing snowballs at her. That's actually one of her favorite games. I'd post the pictures of that, but I already did that my first year here.

My dog used to really enjoy being in front of the camera. I'd point it at her and she'd come running. Now she makes a point of looking away. It's as if she knows or something. I really do think she's upset at being denied that million dollars she begged for a few years ago. You'll have to search the blog to find out about that little incident.

So why am I talking about goofy dog stuff? Because, as you can see, there's a ton of snow out there and not much else to do. I got some cool winter pictures though. And when the snow melts there's nothing but mud between the house and the garage. I'd get some gravel to put on the path, but I can't find out where to get any. My dad would have known.

Maybe you can tell by what I have written that I'm feeling a little stir crazy right now. I do have to admit that I'd really rather be out on one of my everyday adventures. My brother sent me a bunch of cool deer pictures on my phone recently. Even he's doing better than me right now. Time to make some big plans. I'll talk to you later.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Cool New Winter Pictures

I'm finally coming out of my winter slumber thanks to some urging in my comments section. After several months of a messed up back I'm starting to get out for a little bit at a time now. I'm going to have to take it slow, but I think I can do more and more each time. This first time I was able to get out to just a small bit of nature to test out my new camera.

You've read about me obnoxiously bragging about my phone camera for the past two years, but I have recently had to admit that there are better ones now. It felt terrible to know that and not have the very best. I was deeply ashamed I tell ya.

My previous phone was a Windows Phone, a brand nobody else ever knew existed. That being my only smart phone, I didn't know what I was missing. I decided to get a brand new Android phone this time, a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

I don't necessarily want this to be a commercial for my new phone, but my little nature trip was kind of uneventful. I must say that I didn't know what I was missing with my old Windows phone. This new phone has everything my old one had and a whole lot more. That's kind of why I chose it.

Maybe I shouldn't sit here and describe all the cool features to you. You've probably already read enough. You're saying to yourself, "Okay, big guy, so you got a new phone. I have a phone too." I guess what I'm leading up to here is that I took these pictures with my fancy new phone. See? the phone is a little relevant here.

This was the first time I've been able to try out the new phone camera. It did okay the first time out even though the pictures are drab winter stuff. I'll see if I can get something cooler next time. I have lots of pictures of my dog, but you've seen her before. Besides, she's kind of upset that she never got a response from that time she was begging everybody for a million dollars.

In a way the newer phone cameras are better than a good bigger camera. My new one has as many features as my big camera except it doesn't have the zoom lens. It focuses on closeup objects much better than the big one. I forgot to get closeups on my little trip. Maybe next time. I'll talk to you later.

Oh, if you're a geek like me and really want to know more about my phone just ask me in the comments section. I always reply to questions.