Viewing 112 reply threads
    • Bird Academy
      Bird Academy
      Bird_Academy
      Are you starting to recognize some of the “themes” in the natural world more readily? Can you share some examples? Upload one of your journal pages reflecting one of the themes, if you’d like to. There are no right or wrong answers!
      You must be enrolled in the course to reply to this topic.
    • Blanca
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      BlancaManzanilla
      Nov 23, 2020 - Lamanai, Belize Example #1 - Leafcutter Ants working during the day. Example #2 - Bat falcons only eat a bird's head. Brain and eyes taste good? Maybe Cornell can shed some light on this for me? Thanks. Obervation, possible explanation, more questions
    • Tiffany
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      ainwena
      imageI need to practice with themes for awhile and maybe brainstorm some journal topics here.  I went outside and was looking for patterns when I saw the cottontail and felt compelled to sketch it.  I didn’t have much time though and I struggled with proportions, but it was fun.
    • Heather
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      hollidog
      6D0B581F-D12A-4BCD-BA35-F1295648BD8CMany questions come to mind, what do they eat, do they feel the cold, do they join other flocks elsewhere. It’s a challenge to sit outside in nature due to winter weather but my backyard feeders provide me lots of movement. The house sparrows dart around in groups, the leaves are all being blown off now, patterns as they wave their final farewells. They provide part of the ecosystem with fertilizer in the spring. How many leaves are too many? This module has been really interesting, and as others have said a real help to focus and be present in nature.
    • amy
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      amykarst
      After an incredibly hot summer with no rain,, I notice the change in my vegetable garden. Tiny, tiny butter nut squash! butternut
    • Kim
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      kimmie06
      F57FDA63-67CF-4840-8445-F56994911F6D
    • Sandra
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      sjessop
      I spent some time in my local park.  The grassy areas had just been seeded, so the sprinklers were going on and off around me.  I noticed the sparrows drank water from the puddles, but the grackles waited until the water shut off to walk around the grass.   Do bugs crawl up out of the water? Does the freshly planted seed show up better in the wet grass?  Does the wet grass feel good on their toes?  I wouldn't have noticed this had I not been an intentional observer. SitSpot3
    • Marta
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      MartaOli
      I went to the park for a walk, and looked for examples of scale, quantity and changes. I was amazed how different locations, in the park, host a different number of pine trees! Birds seem to prefer the more quite area, as they fly away when I approach carefully. Taking a close look at those pine trees, I was surprised to see different shape and size cones and realized I needed to do some research about pine trees reproductive cycle! Some questions came to my mind: why do some trees have so much more mature cones than others? Maybe the wind has influence? How long does a mature cone takes to take shape? Female cones seem to grow mostly in the upper branches; does that happen always?
    • Jean
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      jigoe2
      IMG_5754 (1)
    • Kim
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      kimmie06
      I'm observing the cicadas buzzing not only cycles as a group, but increases in intensity around early evening.  Also, as of the last week, the intensity of their droning has waned.   A possible explanation of the buzzing could be:  is it to signal a food source?  is it to signal for a mate?  The lessening intensity perhaps is indicating the mating season is over, the life cycle of the cicadas is coming to an end and their eggs are laid for the next cycle?  The more I observe, the more I marvel at the body of knowledge that has been gained from those who've gone before me and made the observations we have now that encompass the field of biology.  It also causes me to appreciate those who didn't have technology at their fingertips and had to gain knowledge of their world by observing the patterns and seasons for their very survival.
    • Caroline
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      benjaminboies
      IMG_7909 Mushrooms growing in the middle of an oak tree. Themes: Scale & Quantity, Patterns, Changes.
    • Liliana
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      Liliana Ponce
      WhatsApp Image 2020-09-06 at 20.41.38I wander how grass and plants stay green under several centimetres of snow and ice in winter. Perhaps they have some mecanism of adaption, as birds do, but I do not know. I noticed some tiny birds stay here in winter, and their tiny feet in the ice and snow seem not to bother them.  
    • May
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      May-A-A
      Many themes, it was a challenge to decide which to work on first. F3FA25F3-C208-43DE-BE0E-AD17FC0FC3D31F745DAA-850F-4D37-9940-8B7C352EC087
    • Bridget
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      rimuridge
      There is so much to wonder about and enjoy in our world. I am inspired by the other course attendees! Please keep sharing your journals and thoughts.IMG_20200830_115326IMG_20200830_115311IMG_20200830_115255
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      LinElin
      Listening to the cicadas I was struck with how the rise and fall of the intensity/loudness seemed synchronized among the cicadas in my maple tree. Why and how do they do that? I have learned much about cicadas, but haven't answered that question yet. Still working on it. IMG-2002
    • Lumi
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      lumifox
      Finches like to visit our feeder when it is full, but it’s always a flurry of feathers when it begins to run low, and other kinds of birds seem to visit more often when the feeder is less full. - is it that it takes them a while to remember about this easy food source? - do the other birds not want the food when the feeder is full due to the timing? - is it harder for the other birds to get on the feeder with all the finches on it? - do they want to stock up while the food is there so they won’t need it until the feeder runs low again? - all of the above?  image
    • Claire
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      mcoravsky
      This was an easy lesson for me. Often when we are traveling or hiking my husband and I will work through the process you have described here. It comes naturally to us. I created the entry below from an observation we made just the other day. 20200801_171045
    • Victoria
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      mvrestre
      I always thought that the dew trapped in spiderwebs was just beautiful, I loved taking pictures of the fantastic "pearls" shining early morning. One day, as I was visiting my home Country Colombia, I started climbing a mountain with my camera looking for birds, but the amazing flora captivated me so much, the sun was rising and all the plants were covered with tiny water droplets. A few hours later, as I was heading down, it was really hot and I was so surprised to to see that even though the plants were dried, some of the spiderwebs were still completely cover with water drops, as they were at dawn.
      • Perhaps silk refrigerates water and protect it from evaporation so the spider has fresh water to drink
      • Maybe spiders attract insects with water in hot weather
      • Water trapped in the silk takes longer to evaporate.
      dew_01dew_02dew_03
      • Bonnie
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        bjreimann
        These are really beautiful (photos and drawings)!
    • Denise
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      dennymeyer
      decomposing tree A fallen tree with beautiful patterns and shadows as decomposition starts. Are insects making these patterns or is it just water prompted rotting?
    • Adella
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      adellamarie
      Flowers on shrubs attract certain insects; for example, butterflies & bees.   Flowers turn into berries and the birds feed on the berries.  A garden lizard (Anole) flashes his bright red gizzard to ward off other males.  He is protecting his territory.  Common Gallinules protect their young by keeping them close by and if they wander off the adults are always aware of their location.  They show them how to find food.  The young watch and learn from the adults.
    • Amie
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      windflower3
      I got to watch this little mallard family at a lake not far from my house. Although I often see mallards there I think this was the first family sighting. The ducklings stayed so tightly clustered together that they were impossible to count. I would think they stay so close for safety.  I also started to wonder if staying directly behind the mama also helps cut the current making easier for them to swim (they were swimming under the dam against the current which can get pretty strong at times,  I've seen a small turtle get swept away). Ps.  If this posts twice I apologize, I tried posting and it read error so I re posted. 20200715_174005
      • diana
        Participant
        Chirps: 49
        ittybittyart
        Love this!
      • Caroline
        Participant
        Chirps: 17
        benjaminboies
        Amazing!
    • اليازية
      Participant
      Chirps: 27
      Alyazia
      F98F0E98-0DAE-46B5-A54D-A11C3501A89B I went to observe the sand crabs - tinny creatures that will disappear with the any movement around it. So, you have to stay still for a bit more than 5 minutes for them to comeback and continue their pieces of art on the sand. They appear when the tide is low. They are at the lowest level of the ecosystems, shore birds would eat them (I  don’t know if the fishes does too  but this makes me wonder where do they go when to seawater covers this area of the beach). The create clean pretty forms in the ground with the beach sand. I was able to video several scenes while they are sucking the sand into their lower body whole then bubbling it out of their mouth creating mini-sand balls. They try to rearrange the sandballs by fixing them in lines with their back legs (Am I using the right word here?).   24C13CF1-82E3-4895-8F5D-4739BE767694 The upper part of the page has a wide scene of the beach; the sand balls looks amazing in reality. The lower part of the page has a close-up of one of the holes , the sand balls, the prints of the sand bubbler crab and the crab (owner of this in process piece of art). While observing, sketching and videographing,  lots of unanswered questions popped into my mind. Some of which are: 1) do they “see” with their eyes or do they sense the vibrations of any movement with their whole body?  (They are too fast) 2) why do they form such shapes? Does the bubbled sand-balls has some liquid or smell that comes out of them while bubbling it? 3) is this an indicator of the crab’s territory?  Or a mating sign? 4) what is the lifespan of the crab ? At which age(?) do they start designing these bubbled sand ? 5) when the tide is high, and when all their sand-balls are ruins where do they go ? Why do they insist on bubbling new sand-balls over and over and never give up? 6) if they can be pray of birds - doesn’t these sand-balls are clear marks of their existence ? (Bird-view wise they can be spotted easily!) Guess I have to research it to find answers :)
      • Iva
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        iemoore
        I don't understand the whole sand ball work of the crab either.  I spent a day watching the crabs and birds at Pea Island last spring.  Your drawings make me want to do some research.  Thank you.
    • Ruth
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      ruthdrawsgonzalez
      Siberian Iris with plant parts Nature Journal, Ruth Gonzalez I have a big patch of Siberian Iris in my backyard that is currently showing all phases of its reproductive cycle, and showing the life cycle change the flower is going through including the seedhead that is formed after pollination. The seedheads in my garden are from last year's flowers that were never deadheaded. Siberian Iris reproduce by seed and by their rhizomes spreading. The Anther is hidden under the Style arms and above the Fall (the lower petal). You really have to look for the Anther. I could not find it at first. I imagine that pollinators are enticed in by the Signal (the yellow patch) and the veining which seems to be saying "here I am...come pollinate me". I drew the central flower with a yellow glow to indicate that it is at the height of readiness for reproduction to occur, and doing all it can to communicate that readiness to creatures that can make pollination occur.
      • Leonora
        Participant
        Chirps: 29
        noniebird
        Beautiful example of CHANGE happening in your garden. Your irises are so lovely, especially your drawing of the iris in full bloom. I also loved your description of the flower working so hard to entice pollinators - never quite thought of a flower’s beauty that way, as a lure for pollinators, but it makes perfect sense! Thank you for sharing this beautifully rendered, colorful, and detailed page with us.
      • Maria
        Participant
        Chirps: 4
        mariacordell
        Amazing! What a wonderful way to explore change. Thanks for sharing your inspiring example.
      • Suzanne
        Participant
        Chirps: 22
        Suzy64
        I love the way you used art so beautifully to illustrate the changes in the iris. I am inspired to try this with some iris in my yard next spring.  Perhaps I will use hostas or astilbes this year. There is still time.
      • Claire
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        mcoravsky
        This is excellent.  I am excited to learn to improve my art. Thanks for the inspiration.
      • diana
        Participant
        Chirps: 49
        ittybittyart
        Very instructive.
    • Leonora
      Participant
      Chirps: 29
      noniebird
      4C5BBB8C-3ED7-41D8-9A8D-50081EB277C395C555B3-766F-4DF1-A36A-90E2AF963CF8
      • Kimberly
        Participant
        Chirps: 4
        kcollingwood
        Wow these are amazing!  Love the fish!
      • Gigi
        Participant
        Chirps: 7
        gzarzuela
        #journalinggoals these are brilliant!
      • diana
        Participant
        Chirps: 49
        ittybittyart
        Beautiful style. Inspiration.
    • Leonora
      Participant
      Chirps: 29
      noniebird
      B514D5B2-D84D-4019-A38B-2164BE8AD90B1453FC9E-86FA-44FE-A6CD-CAC6187907547B540CC0-F3C0-4FF5-8622-4FD21A1E209F
      • Colleen
        Participant
        Chirps: 43
        CBMac7
        Wow 😯! I love all the details, writing ✍️, & drawing that you have put into your journal 📔 pages. Very interesting, informative and colorful. I hope to eventually get mine like that.
      • Ruth
        Participant
        Chirps: 18
        ruthdrawsgonzalez
        Leonora, I really can't believe how gorgeous each of these pages are. The drawing is just inspirational and the information adds a whole other dimension to each page. The way you have arranged each page is so pretty and cohesive. Really really lovely!
      • diana
        Participant
        Chirps: 49
        ittybittyart
        Love the prickly pear cactus especially.
    • Colleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 43
      CBMac7
      • 8DF4AC42-7F74-4FB2-8E31-B0CAEA9F162D09635043-A6B8-4144-806B-75E1C10FE7242F13AC62-58EC-4ABE-9DD9-A21F3467572BYes I noticed the scale, quantity, and patterns of the cherry blossoms 🌸 on the branch my husband brought in this past March.
    • Dorothy D
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      DAnna_Dorothy
      I have been doing post sunrise walk along a meadow facing the woods. The Stars of Bethlehem in the tall grasses are starting to open again from their green striped like close umbrella  overnights. The spittle bugs are busy  already. I looked up their life cycle because I did not know they(the nymphs) have to come up for air in the spittle!IMG_7354
    • Stefania
      Participant
      Chirps: 19
      Stefiex22
      I have done a walk and I observed the different types of trees and colours. They have different shapes and roots and I would like to learn how to draw the roots of the trees. By reflecting on the scale and quantity, there are many, some areas have lots of trees. I have reflect upon my students and their learning. They come to University to study, we treat them equally, but the reality is that - as the trees - they are very different to each other, they have different lights and dimensions. Therefore, they will not have the same learning experience. Forms: the forms of the trees are very different and their leave might have different colors too even if they are the same trees. Walking in a forest
      • Leonora
        Participant
        Chirps: 29
        noniebird
        Hi, Stefania. What a happy picture. I love your dog! And the snails . . . they’re my favorite! 🐌🐌
    • Ruth
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      ruthdrawsgonzalez
      Poppy nature journaling 5-2-20 Ruth Gonzalez Pattern around flower center *might* become the top of the seedhead. Sawtooth leaves. Flower opened today and hairy bud covering fell to the ground. Different life stages...bud, flower open, later followed by seedhead. Reading about the plant made me decide to dig it up and replant it with more compost so it has better drainage. It is such a dramatic flower.
      • Leonora
        Participant
        Chirps: 29
        noniebird
        Beautiful vibrant colors! I am drawn into the magic of your page by your lively and charming poppy. I want to dance with it!
      • Nancy
        Participant
        Chirps: 5
        Gags will
        Love your page! I will aspire to this level of wonder!
      • diana
        Participant
        Chirps: 49
        ittybittyart
        Color is great here.
    • Teri
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      tcmbigsky
      I did a skull comparison of a prairie dog and rabbit of their size and observations about the teeth.  E0B5F44A-BC60-4810-B5EC-F70859CF4CD8
      • Shane
        Participant
        Chirps: 1
        BigSurBirdBrain
        I love that! Well done, I’ll definitely try to sketch the next deer skull I run across!
      • diana
        Participant
        Chirps: 49
        ittybittyart
        Bones: excellent place to start.
    • Kathy
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      kbsoave
      One of my favorite things about keeping a nature journal has been allowing myself the time to observe closely tiny events in nature...either in my backyard, at the beach or on a hike in the woods. My goal each time I make a new journal entry is to observe something I would otherwise have not noticed, either by overlooking it or simply not taking the time to look slowly and closely. This always leads to so many questions that I am following up with -- also more observations, as well as a rabbit hole of research. So rewarding and fun! The journal entry I am including here is of bees in my garden -- I noticed many patterns: in behavior (ie, small groups of my garden honey bees seem to stay around foraging in their own distinct Geranium clumping the garden (see map in my journal) and they seem to be able to make immediate decisions about whether they will dive headfirst into the flower for nectar or move on to the next flower straight away (I timed many of these "flower stops"; form and function (of the lovely Geranium flower design for attracting bees as pollinators, the bees' body and leg designs for pollen gathering and so much more!; patterns of change throughout the garden as spring deepens and more types of bee journalflowers and leaves begin opening up. This observation day led to so many questions (and even a few answers!).
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      lindaloubird
      The sketch below shows the trials of nesting season.  A pair of redwing blackbirds have a nest in the lake grass along the shoreline.  I constantly see one of the blackbirds, male I'm assuming, chasing a crow away.  The crow keeps coming back and the blackbird has to expend so much energy chasing the crow! Then one morning, there was a turkey vulture there.  I wondered if the eggs or hatchlings were destroyed.  But the little blackbird chased away this huge vulture.  The vulture did not come back but the crow is around.  Daily, for over a week, the blackbird chases the crow.  I wonder if any survived in the nest, and if not, whether another clutch of eggs was laid.  There is still something there to protect.
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      lindaloubird
      DSCN1091
    • sherry
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      sherlee00
      image
    • Ann
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      asimmons
      On April 9, I came across a "crime scene" on a snowy trail in Moosehorn WR in Maine.  Feathers were scattered on the trail. I was not sure about the identities of the prey or the predator.  Woodcocks had been displaying for about a week, and the feathers looked as if they could have belonged to a woodcock, so that was my hypothesis. I sketched a few feathers, then looked for and found the bill which was very long and oddly shaped at the end - certainly a woodcock.  None of the feathers were broken.  They appeared to have been neatly plucked. I imagine a mammal would have been messier, breaking feathers or leaving feathers in clumps, so a hawk or owl was most likely the predator.  I looked for signs of an owl's roost but didn't find anything, so I really don't know. It was fun to play detective and look more closely to try to solve a mystery.WIN_20200419_09_53_15_Pro
    • Carol
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      carolrasowsky
      6FEC593E-E074-420B-8B19-7ED3C96D79DCA20252BE-414F-4576-8E69-A2C5DE8739F6 Noticing - Form & Function.  On a recent walk at our local wildlife refuge, I noticed two large patches with multiple 1” holes in the sand, as seen in the photos above. It was startling to see all these holes along the paths, and me wonder who made them and whether both patches were made by the same creature. The refuge has lots of fire ants and also lots of Lubber grasshoppers (who hatch from the ground in early spring) at this time of year, so I guessed that these holes were homes to one of them. But when I looked up ‘ant holes’, I made a fascinating discovery - these crater-like pits appear to be the engineering feat of Antlion larvae, known to be voracious little predators.  I remembered learning years ago about how Antlion larvae hide in wait and feed on ants and other insects that fall into their traps. What an ingenious design! I also discovered that these insects are sometimes called Doodlebugs, because of the winding, spiraling trails they make in the sand when they emerge from their pits!
    • Giuliana
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      giulianacpferrari
      As a field biologist, most of my work consisted of looking out for specific behaviours. So much that sometimes I forget I don't know everything and some themes are foreign to my scientific comprehension. This class has taught me again the value of asking questions, and the beauty behind it, instead of simply 'knowing' the answer.
    • Shir
      Participant
      Chirps: 29
      BirdShir
      Well, I tried your spot sit that you suggested plus still doing my birdsitting out back as well. I think I will drive down next time. I packed my items I wanted to carry in my Audobon field type bag. I have a folding stool so with that in tow and my camera I headed down to the woods edge where a creek flows through close to the woods. The area has a closed sign due to the virus thing. So I just sat by the edge near the roadside. Was a great experience but shorter than I had planned as needed to run back home. That's why I said perhaps I should drive down so no need to rush right back home. I have written my notes and thoughts and sketches in my sketchpad to share. Sketch Nature Journaling and Field Sketching Spot Sitting At The Edge Of The Woods
    • Ranae
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      Puzzle Peace
      Sit spot, back yard, small town, eastern NC April 10, 2020   Mid morning theme; changes Observation/ The poor little rhododendron has healthier, more abundant blooms than the first and second spring after it was planted. Explanation possibilities: the roots are more established; the soil is becoming more fertile secondary to leaf fall, time, ; the rhododendron is responding positively to the wet winter; warmer winters are advantageous to its' growth. Questions / Will the rhododendron ultimately thrive in its' current location?  Will foliage improve over the spring and summer? Will it actually grow? What modifications would be beneficial beyond leaving the plant site to natures' cycles?
    • Shea
      Participant
      Chirps: 19
      runnerboy13
      I am, the swans that live not to far from our house now have eggs!  IMG_20200410_135604
    • Matt
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      mgoldberg
      As a biology teacher, I have for years emphasized the relationship between form and function. We start with simple examples, like the human hand. Then we revisit it throughout the year, whether we are studying the fit of a species in its environment, the structure of the digestive system, or the shape of an individual protein, like ATP synthase in our mitochondria. I love the idea of revisiting the same sit spot regularly over the course of a year to watch for change over time. IMG_5945
      • Matt
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        mgoldberg
        Oops... I mislabeled my specimen... I got the bushes in my yard confused. This isn't Mountain Laurel, it is Andromeda. The variety is Pieris Mountain Fire.
      • Leonora
        Participant
        Chirps: 29
        noniebird

        @Matt Hi, Matt. I have this pretty tree in my front yard and did not know it’s name. Now, I say, “Good Day, Andromeda,” when I pass it. Thanks for the teaching moment. Love your drawing.

    • Suzy
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      slyttle
      I found that I naturally think for form and function as a theme. I found this wasp on the inside of my window. Not super pumped that it is indoors but it was a perfect chance to journal! I looked at body parts and thought why would they be that shape, why does this wasp have hairs or barbs on its legs. That led me to think of its behavior. Why is it rubbing its legs like that? Theme01Theme02
    • Leah
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      imchickadee
      I think that I'm starting to recognize some of the "themes" in nature more often, but I would like to improve on seeing them more easily. I think if you can recognize themes easily, you can see unique things about different plants and animals to make them more distinguishable.
    • sherry
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      sherlee00
      It has been pretty cold here in Colorado and I haven’t started doing much walking out yet so I did some drawing that were presented in our course just as practice exercises. Can’t sit outside for long and the higher country still has too much snow.  I am so looking forward to taking my sketchbook up a high meadow very soon to sketch some of the beautiful wild flowers we have here.  Some birds are here already.  Need to take some pictures are draw from them “inside”.  April should be better.imageimage    
    • Mario
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      fusertramp
      this topic was very useful to me as a biologist always wondering WHY?
    • Montana
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      mvasquezgrinnell
      At this time of year, I enjoy seeing the patterns of the leaves on the ground that fell last fall. There are different colors, the curves or the points of leaves. Some of the leaves are darker than others, and the fact that they aren't crunchy anymore and as the light filters through the still bare trees it makes for an interesting blanket on the forest floor.
    • Heather
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Cacomantis
      Patterns of behavior.   Here in south-eastern Australia , on our property, the Australian Wood Duck (not related to the American Wood Duck) bred several months ago and birds are now congregating  into larger groups. However  this week a pair with one small duckling is in our yard.  Question 1. Is this early breeding for next season or late breeding for the last? According to references, in south eastern Australia breeding season is July to October, but up to December whereas in north eastern New South Wales it is December to April but can be all year depending on rainfall and growth of grass. Early clutch size is 10--11 , later clutch size is smaller, averaging 4.   Question 2.Are these birds from northern areas rather than locals? Have they left the drier north for the damper south? I will not know the answer to this, but I love looking things up. Comparison by quantity. I know that Australian Wood Ducks are not as numerous this year because I haven't been consciously avoiding stepping on their droppings on the paths and lawns.
    • Betsy
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      BetsyWier
      Yesterday my daughter and I went for a long walk to get out of the house, fresh air and exercise. We have been on Covid-19 lockdown for over a week now. We took the art supplies with us and did landscape drawings. We were inspired by the moody clouds over the mountains at first but the real observations we made during our walk was the transition from winter to spring. There is still snow on the ground, the meadows are boggy with snow melt, making a thick mud that you don't want to get stuck in so we had to stay on the path. The birds were singing and I even saw a big black fly - but he flew away before I could sketch him. Not sure if any of you out there are Gabriel Garcia Marquez fans...but I think this little sketch/painting should be called "Nature Love in the Time of Corona Virus"...   landscape
      • Andrew
        Participant
        Chirps: 13
        ajsibb
        Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s book sounds like a good read for this point in life. :) You catch the feeling of the landscape. Thank-you for sharing!
      • Victoria
        Participant
        Chirps: 14
        mvrestre
        I am from Colombia and I love Garcia Marquez books, when I first started reading him I was marveled by his imagination, but when I visited his hometown Aracataca, in the 80's, I realized that what he was describing in his novels was not that far from reality. It was an incredibly experience to walk into the little town with muddy streets to find a procession (It was during the Holy Week) of little white angels running toward the church. The kids were dressed in white tunics with huge paper machè wings, they were barefoot, because they were not allowed to stained their new shoes, that the moms kept in plastic bags to be worn only inside the church. Pigs and dogs were marching alongside the kids toward the tiny church, where the old ladies were dressed all in black getting ready to take dead Jesus around while singing and crying... I could keep writing, but I guess, that is another story. This is a place where magical realism started.
      • Linda
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        lrclum

        @Victoria Wow!  What an insight. Thanks for sharing that.  I have always loved magical realism. -Linda

      • Linda
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        lrclum
        I think landscape is hard to sketch and I really like what you did here. I will use it as inspiration to sketch my waterscape of Lake Michigan!  Great quote. Keep walking!
    • Mudito
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      Mudito
      An earlier exercise that I reallly enjoyed doing.  image
      • Andrew
        Participant
        Chirps: 13
        ajsibb
        Beautiful job on the pot of daffodils, Mudito! And your “straight lines” work well with it.
    • Mudito
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      Mudito
      This is another sit spot day.  Went to a beautiful beach up the coast to get out of the house for a while.  I have not been able to make the photo thing work for days but today,it worked again.  Computers sigh! Anyhow, I continue to work through all the exercises and to enjoy the process.   I find I am not so interested in the scientific inquiry portions as I am so focused on drawing.  But I do work through them all and find that it does indeed pique my interest and sharpen my observation skills so it is all to the good. I enjoy looking at the work that others are doing and am finally getting a handle on how the submissions thing works.image
      • Andrew
        Participant
        Chirps: 13
        ajsibb
        This makes me miss the east coast. :(
    • John
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      Peckalot
      I have leftover items as the result of this lesson.IMG_0911
    • David
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      David Santos
      During a walk in a enviromental educational area I came across the track of a wild boar. I assume it was a wild boar since the distribuition of the other ungulates is far, and their number is not increasing as wild boar. Giving a simple justification. Also there were signs of rooting nearby the footprints. To my surprise the dew claws were absent in every footprint, and some asymetric hoof prints were found. This break my mental pattern for the species. I took pictures of those and created an entrance in my journal. I also add a book reference to compare with what I saw. This made me ask some questions that are also visible in the picture. 89951624_623335538228612_1157158352405397504_n
    • Kim
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      kheiss
      I’ve noticed that some birds show up alone at my backyard feeding station while others come in a small flock. Some birds will forage on the ground under the feeder only, some only on the feeder and some will do both. In this picture I’ve compared some differences between the Baltimore Orioles and the Northern Cardinals that visit each day. 39A7B1F0-3B13-42E9-BC45-3F33A2B883AE
    • Louis
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      cathead2
      Dear very good teacher, themes in nature?   A true story Last week I was visiting my 94 year old mother in law for her birthday in Orlando Florida. I went for a walk on a Sunday (9 AM, bright cool day, recent cold front, blue sky, T 60 or so) morning in the wetlands, drainage area, canal system which reflects close to what would have been in Florida prior to development. Walking slowly I noticed something swimming in the water. Initially I thought it was a muskrat. It eventually came out of the water and I could see it had a small fish in its mouth. It ate that one and caught another, about 12 inches long. This attracted a great blue heron who immediately came over and followed the otter around, from one pond to the next, fishing in the shallow waters of the pond-culvert system. I could see the Heron catch some small fish as they swam into the shallow water to escape the swimming otter in the deeper water. It even caught a baby alligator and carried it around for a while. As the otter would move, so would the otter. When the otter brought a fairly large fish (24 or 30 "long) to the bank to eat, the heron came out and stood watching about 5 feet way. The otter showed no interest in the otter and the heron appeared relaxed but always watching the heron. I have more to tell, but long enough.  All of this took place a few hundred yards from a 5 thousand home development.  People walking in this area are common. The otter and heron both saw me, in fact the otter came over to visit me, snarled, showed his teeth and kept swimming. Several people walked by me, took no noticed, even if I pointed. I noticed if I had a low profile, I was ignored by the birds, otter, even by the people. This wet land is connected to several thousand acres of connecting waterways intertwined between suburban developments.  I invite the reader to  address the themes.  Enjoying the course, Lou  PS, I have seen several otters in the past in Maine, all for a split second,never observed one for 45 minutes or more.
    • Nancy
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      nstevick
      I went to Sierpe with The Birding Club of Costa Rica. We went to a farm where king vultures nest. Usually, king vultures are only seen soaring high in the sky, so it was a privilege to see them up close. There was an adult perched in a tree, and a juvenile down on the ground with some black vultures. They were eating a pig head the farmer had put out for them. While this is a working farm, allowing tourists to come and observe the vultures and have a meal boosts the farm's income. We spent a long time observing the juvenile's behavior. He, or she, was much larger than the black vultures (I looked it up: IMG_20200303_16172730832 inches vs. 25 inches). The king vulture repeatedly spread its wings over the food in an attempt to keep the black vultures at bay. The king seemed to be getting more of the snack than the black vultures. Many questions came to mind. Why is the juvenile black, while the adults are mostly white? When does the plumage change? When does the juvenile grow the orange lumps on the beak that the adults have? Why do king vultures have smooth heads while black vultures have bumpy heads? Why is the king vulture's beak so much thicker and stronger looking than the black vultures? Is it a good thing that the farmer is feeding them? Were we disturbing them? (It did not appear so. We were far enough away that we needed binoculars to really see the details. I took photos and drew this scene from a photo.) Will I every really understand chiaroscuro and be able to express it in my drawings?
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      thechubbywoman
      My friend Roxanne and I are always trying to learn from what we see and ask ourselves questions about forms and functions.  I’ve been focusing a lot on lichen lately, and have begun to observe the different ways the lichen reproduce.  Some use apothecia through which they produce and release spores, some use soredia (crumbly-looking bundles of algae and fungus cells that they shed – which then go on to form another lichen), some use isidia (structures that look like eyelashes on the edges of the lichen)… and some use a combination of those structures. I used to think of lichen as fairly “commonplace” somewhat “simple” structures, but observation has shown me how complex and varied they are.  I’ve been using a macro attachment for my cellphone to observe some of the deeper details and structures of lichen.  Here’s an example of what Bark Rim Lichen, Lecanora chlarotera looks like to the naked eye and to the macro attachment: 20200210_083512 To the naked eye,the lichen looks like white-wash on the bark.  But using the macro attachment, I was able to observe the apothecia (cup-like structures used for spore formation) all over the lichen's surface. 20200210_083532  
    • Nancy
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Nancybp
      I always considered myself an observant person but now I'm observing in more ways.  I notice a change or something different that stands out.  I have more questions!   I've been a birder but now I'm noticing the trail in a different perspective.  I see trees are all different colors (winter) of brown and gray.  How the green of pine trees really stands out and how a larger pine is a much darker green.  The bottom of a tree is dark gray and then lightens as it reaches the sky with a pale gray.  Then the sun comes out and everything changes!  Theres a shadow of branches.  The sky appears darker in the distance above the trees but straight up it is a bright carolina blue!
    • Betty
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      Bee Kay
      I've been setting up bird feeding areas around my yard, we have a very large lot in rural NY and we have a lot of birds coming to my feeders.  Alas, the squirrels have located my bird diner and have invited themselves to come and partake.  I thought that if I also provided them with their own feeders they would narrow their choices to their own table.  I'm including an unfinished sketch I started a couple days ago.Screen Shot 2020-02-17 at 3.33.10 PM
    • Jann
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      janningk
      I'm a beginning eBirder as I take this Nature Journaling course. One thing that I've observed is that the Black-throated sparrows here have a lot of brown on them. From the on-line photos it appears the adult males are primarily gray. Maybe I'm only noting juveniles, but even the bigger, more dominant birds have brown around their necks and onto the back. They flit around quickly and are very shy so I haven't gotten close enough to document with either my cell phone or a drawing, but I hope to - so I can figure out exactly what it is I'm seeing.
    • Sarah
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      Saliog
      I went back to a sketch of skunk cabbage that I had observed on 12/31/19. This is the first plant to come up in our wood but the sighting was earlier than usual. I hypothesize that it came up early due to a mild winter, or is it evidence of the bigger issue of climate  change? The warm temperatures may make it easier for the plant to sprout because it doesn’t need to expend energy to melt snow around it (which I have observed previously). This raised questions: is climate change shifting growth patterns? How does the plant melt snow around it and will it grow faster if it doesn’t need to do that?B75291D6-F8E0-469A-A1F3-72501D8F5705
    • Tanis
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      tanislynn
      deer at apples We put out apples for the deer and two deer show up on a regular basis. One is reddish coloured and the other has lots of black . The reddish one allows comes first. The darker one waits until the other finishes and moves away before approaching the apples.  I wonder if the reddish deer is dominant so it eats first and decides when it is safe to eat and when it is time to leave. I have heard that darker deer live in swampy areas but these two are travelling together so why is one so much darker. Is it younger?
    • Donna
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      jalexaphotography
      The squirrels chase each other a lot this time of year. Is it territorial or breeding season? Are they chasing each other away from their food stores that they were furiously digging in the fall?
    • BJORN
      Participant
      Chirps: 40
      suzukiawd13
      cornell adee and a bath (2)
      • BJORN
        Participant
        Chirps: 40
        suzukiawd13
        I had 2 scenes to draw. One was the function of the 'chickadee type bird,' hiding in the brush, from predators. Trying to keep warm. By the ocean, on the bay. I used oil-crayon types of markers. Impressionistic. The second, was my bird bath, in the snow, and it was under a shadow. I made some bird tracks, to show the birds went there. This tool, is a man-mad function, to help birds drink, and clean themselves. Especially to avoid foot disease, and to have a niche. Birdseed is around the corner.
    • Isabel
      Participant
      Chirps: 30
      IsabelTroyo
      Bronzed Cowbird Noticing change: I was observing these birds the last four days. This is the biggest group I have ever seen. They come in the afternoon and perched in a tall bougainvillea with pink flowers. Why came so many birds this year? Are they looking for food or a place to nest? Why do the come in the afternoon (at 4:00pm) and perch on this particular plant? Maybe because it is fresher late in the afternoon?  I did a little research and found out that they eat seeds, grains and insects, but they do not come to my garden looking for insects.
    • Gail
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      Gcoffeywriter
      I observed out my kitchen window this morning as it was much too cold to sit outside.  It was a balmy 9F with a strong wind.  I am continually amazed at the resourcefulness and resilience of birds like Chickadees, Titmice, Juncos and Sparrows during these arctic blasts.  They are so small and their down and contour feathers do not seem enough to keep them from freezing on days like today.  Yet they continue to fly, grab seeds, look around tree trunks and wood piles for overwintering insects.  A few young male turkeys arrived this morning and I had questions about why-we have not seen any turkeys since early summer 2019.  
      • Journal Entry Change in Nature Theme-1
       
      • Claire
        Participant
        Chirps: 4
        clairehaas
        I have only seen turkeys during the cold weather at my house.  They are coming to the feeder and to take advantage of the shelter near my back door where a fence goes out perpendicular to the wall of the house forming a place where the sunlight is strong in the afternoon.  Last year there were few turkeys, and only one or two came to the feeder.  This year has been somewhat warmer weather overall and I have seen no turkeys yet.  However, there has been blasting and construction in the land below the hill on which I live.  This land was formerly an air base, then it was deserted for several years (giving wildlife a chance to take over), and now with all the activity, there is less motivation for wildlife to live there.
    • Mike
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      N8RGUY
      Noticing Change
    • Jeff
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      jcwallock
      Nature Journal 1This is a journal entry from a day at the Ruby Lake Wildlife Refuge in Nevada.  I've had many "firsts" in terms of bird sightings here and today presented another first in the wild.  I observed a large group of Trumpeter Swans; observed several groups in flight and depicted these two from a picture that showed the flight pattern I observed.
    • Joy
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      joyneasley
      We have a drainage area near our house where water runs after rains.  This year we have had much more rain than normal.  White-tailed deer now use the area as a waterhole.  I wonder where they will go when the drainage area dries up?  Will the amount of rainfall we received this past year continue in our area as part of the warmer weather pattern we have had the past decade or more?  If so, how does this drainage area affect other wildlife around it? I did not create a journal page, but I did sit outside in the mornings and painted two deer.white tailed deer on canvas cropped
    • Myriam
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      mberub
      I started this part of the course in early December and the most remarkable thing I had noticed recently in nature near me was the large number of Long-Tailed Ducks that had arrived on Lake Ontario in mid-November. When I noticed this, I also noted that the many, many Double-crested Cormorants that nest and fish on the lake near Burlington were mostly all gone. Why? If Long-Tailed Ducks and other fishing ducks can fish in the winter, why can't cormorants? The first image that popped into my mind was of a cormorant on a rock or tree stump near water with wings outstretched. So my first possible explanation is that cormorants cannot survive when air temperature is below freezing, even though there is open water for fishing, because they don't fully waterproof their wings with preening oil like ducks do. When they stretch out their wings, they are drying them. Then I wondered how the cormorants that lived in Vancouver, British Columbia dried their wings when it rained for 3 or more days in a row in the winter. I suppose wet wings aren't a problem if the birds don't need to fly and as long as the temperature is above freezing. I also thought about what Double-crested Cormorants and Long-Tailed Ducks do when they are not fishing. Long-Tailed Ducks spend all their time on water, even when sleeping, whereas cormorants stand or sit on shores or perch in trees. This might affect the two species wintering location choices. While doing a bit of research on cormorants, I learned that they are not considered waterfowl. Waterfowl, like ducks and geese, are in the Galloanseres clade but cormorants are in a sub-clade of Neoaves called Aequonirthes, or "core waterbirds", along with Penguins, Tubenoses, Pelicans, Storks and Loons. Furthermore, recent phylogenetic research suggests that cormorants belong in a family called Suliformes rather that in Pelecaniformes. IMG_E2372
    • Mariana
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      marianabotero
      IMG_5410IMG_5408
    • Paul
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      pbieraugel
      I was observing and drawing on my front porch after a couple days of rain. Birds kept visiting the puddles to drink and a few of them were taking a bath! Pretty cool. I also watched a Black Phoebe catching insects.
    • Edith
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      eharte
      On a kind of rainy week I made observations on how a bean pod dried, twisted, and changed over 4 days time; then observed some shells I had had on my desk  and wondered how their varied forms contributed to their function in their environment. Also I continued to work on light and shadow. My writing is messy, and I have difficulty integrating it on the page with the drawings in a useful and illustrative way. Using a pen seems to help a bit.
    • Edith
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      eharte
      IMG_0619
      • Myriam
        Participant
        Chirps: 5
        mberub
        Beautiful rendered bean pods. I've been seeing a lot of pods on the ground lately from trees which I think are Honey Locust. Since seeing your drawing, I've been thinking about what they look like inside (which I finally found out yesterday) and of maybe drawing one using your drawing as a reference for how to set up the pod and for the shading. I like the way you captured concave and convex shapes.
      • Iva
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        iemoore
        Yesterday, I tried to draw a few broken seashells that I keep on my desk.  I could not make the bivalve appear 3 D with shading.  I titled it, "flat seashell".  After seeing yours, I am going to try again.  Thanks!
    • patricia
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      paakre
      November 14, 2019 Central Park
    • David
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      yabking
      Purple Tooth North Country TrailI thought this was an interesting example of both patterns (rings of Purple Tooth shelf mushrooms), and also energy flow of decomposition.  The mushrooms had obviously been on the wood for a long time.
    • Beth
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      beth
      I decided to do some observations of the pattern on the side of a mountain. All along one face, the erosion of the loose shale rock creates a vertical pattern. I was struggling trying to draw it with pencil and was not happy with how it was turning out. I finally decided to bust out my watercolors for the first time! I was really pleased with the way that I could show the light and shadow of the pattern with watercolor. Noticing themes - Hogsback2
    • Craig
      Participant
      Chirps: 20
      cmflyer
      I looked for patterns in the river sediments in gravel bars.IMG_1430
    • Dan
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      dmurnizzle
      spot sit birds158 One thing I want to practice is slowing down.  Doing spot sits instead of just walking or running or working on a field drawing and then moving on.  The spot sit can definitely help me see deeper and see more interesting details that I would miss otherwise.  For instance, I did a spot sit at a harbor near my house and it wasn't until the very end, 15 minutes into the sit, that I noticed some type of insect or bug dancing around on the surface of the water in front of me.  There were three or four of them and they were making great ripples on the water. They looked as though they were skating. In terms of themes, I want to make sure that I don't draw conclusions.  I can hopefully do this by noting in my journal when I'm making an observation and when I'm inferring something, that way I can check my inferrence later or i can come up with alternative inferrences to my initial one.  Fun to ask follow up questions too.
    • Sallie
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      salliebarker
      thumbnail-2I made an indoor observation  - and ended up with a term paper on ladybugs because I went on to research the answers to my many questions!  Why and how do they enter my house each fall? What is their purpose in the great outdoors?  As a result, I am now less willing to rid the house of these beetles who have chosen our windows and ceilings as their hibernating spot for the winter.  As long as they don't wake up and land in our soup pot, they can stay put until spring!
      • Sallie
        Participant
        Chirps: 11
        salliebarker
        thumbnail-1This is page 2 of my journal entry on lady beetles, where I have had the fun of answering my own questions.
    • Helen
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      Helen B
      From a fall walk. Why are maple trees blazing orange while other trees highlight yellows and browns? 43C58374-4B15-4B8A-8625-DE4BC6E71ECA
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      Ravon43
      On one of my walks on a bike trail, I found a Milkweed seed pod. From one of the pods were still three seeds that appear like parachutes ready to launch in the next strong wind. From this dried flower, I wanted to find out what fed on this plant and how it fit in the cycle of life. It became how important this plant was to the Monarch butterfly that is on decline. I plan on continuing my research to see about planting this flower. I know it can be poison to animals if eaten in great amounts, but I do not have domestic animals and would like to encourage butterflies. What other plants can I plant that will help wildlife? IMG_0670
    • S
      Participant
      Chirps: 32
      twistybear
      IMG_20191108_075938908IMG_20191112_162653670 I love this time of year when the leaves change and I especially love the Spindle tree.  The branches with their tiny pink flowers and leaves make fantastic table dressing for thanksgiving.  There's one growing in the field where my horse used to be.  He'd trim the tree back regularly.  I always wondered why and I still do as apparently it's toxic!   He passed on much later and not at all because of the Spindle tree. I also learned when researching this plant that the branches are burned to make fusain or charcol sticks for drawing!
    • Maidie
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      maidiefk
      cctmNjkYRveFb0VN3wWHtg_thumb_3500 I have gone down to the river to do a sit observe a couple of times now. It is pretty enjoyable, but I have a hard time pulling away from the big picture to concentrate on the small stuff. Anyway, I've been a lot more observant of the heron that lives close. I've scared it away so many times, and am hoping by sitting quietly It'll come into view. This exercise is helping me to be aware and learn about the Herons' habits so I'll learn more about my neighbor!
    • Denise
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      dchaffner
      image
    • Laurie
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      BartelsBirders
      I do not yet have any journal sketches that reflect one of the themes. I do, though, notice the natural world on morning and afternoon walks with my husband, and often when looking out my kitchen window or from our back deck. Our home abuts a tidal salt marsh that is protected as a nature preserve. Our walks usually take us on a path through the preserve or on a quiet road along side a mill pond that drains to Long Island Sound. There is much to observe, especially when we slow down and make the time to inhale our surroundings. Thursday morning I noticed close to one hundred ducks swimming in the Mill Pond, almost all of them moving in the same direction. Gradually, a bunch would turn 180 degrees and ascend in flight. Maybe they were swimming with the tide, or preparing for flight by swimming in one direction to give themselves enough of a runway for taking off in the other direction. And that had me wondering if there is any intentional synchronicity to floating en masse? Knowing that they do not ride the currents as other water fowl do, does wind direction impact how ducks prepare for flight? What is the relationship of this large group of ducks to one another? What is the deal with duck families? At the start of our walk, while still in our neighborhood, we passed a tree whose branches formed an almost perfect bowl. The top half of the tree was barren of leaves; the bottom half had yellow hued leaves. I wondered if the weather impacts the canopy first because it is the most exposed. How does temperature and other weather impact the location and rate of leaf fall? Stopping to pause, observe and wonder is yoga for my senses and mind, and ultimately for my body. I have always stopped to pause and observe; adding wonder to the mixture gets my thinking juices going. And when I begin to bring my journal with me those moments will be all encompassing.
    • Chris
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      ChrisNJ
      FE9EC8D6-D66E-4C85-B459-277F1C809FB9 I started to walk and wound up observing five deer in the woods. I had to turn around but it was fun.
    • Amy
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      amy_jay_bee
      I have been fascinated by the nuthatches (at least two) that have been visiting my sunflowers. I have so many questions! 1. They’re here, in the suburbs, separated from forest by miles of orchards and tomato fields. What are they doing in my back yard? Possible explanations:
      • they’re young and lost and exploiting any food source they can.
      • They normally live in fir forest and there’s a fir nearby. Maybe that attracted them.
      • I’ve just read that they will travel if their habitat is damaged. Last year there were massive fires throughout the state, including the nearest fir forest. Maybe they are climate refugees.
      2. They are clearly nabbing the sunflower seeds. They have a pointy beak and I thought they were insectivores. But I can see them with seeds in their beaks. They grabbed a seed and zip off, repeatedly. What are they doing with the seeds?
      • Maybe they also eat seeds.
      • Maybe they’re caching seeds in hopes of generating bugs.
      • Maybe they eat and cache seeds.
      3. My more usual visitors, the finches, perch on the edges of the sunflowers and reach over for the seeds. If the seeds are too far from the edge, they can’t get to them. The nuthatches can cling to the seed head in every position and grab any seed they want. They are famous for being able to travel upside down even though bird ergonomics favor traveling upward. What’s up with the upside down stuff?
      • Clearly they can exploit food the finches can’t.
      • One theory is that they can find insects hiding in bark better from that angle.
      • Do they also eat fir seeds? Is there something about, say, perching on top of a fir cone and working downward that would make it easy to get the seeds out?
    • Sallie
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      salliebarker
      IMG_0978 Because it was a wet, grey day, I chose to observe the outdoors from indoors, from all four directions. North: Up the hill, I see a chipmunk, my old  'frenemy', hanging along my - or is it his - stone wall.  I can see his neck jerking, so I know he is sounding the alarm to someone out there.  Since the feeder is down by 2", there will be lots of sunflower seeds spilled onto the grass below.  He'll head over soon. South: Wispy clouds drift across my view of Mt. Sunapee (NH). Despite the weather, it is clear. East: The northern facing tree bark is covered with lichen.  What I hoped was a hole turned out to be a patch of dark green moss. West: Clouds are hurrying North along the treetops of our tall white pines, 11 of them.  the Western sky has lightened up, giving a peachy cast to the 4:00 ending of day # 3 of Standard Time.
      • Craig
        Participant
        Chirps: 20
        cmflyer
        I like the way you write over the water colors for each scene. Nice!
      • Sallie
        Participant
        Chirps: 11
        salliebarker

        @Craig Thank you, Craig!  I realized that I placed this entry under the wrong assignment!  It should have been in"Opening Your Senses".  Not sure how to switch it back to that spot, so I now have two submissions in "Themes In Nature". oh well!

    • Karen O
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      KarenOlgaz
      I found this stinkhorn mushroom in my front yard. Question: what is the purpose of the nipple like opening which seem to be sealed with a gel like substance? Is that where the spore slime is discharged? The purpose of the odor is to attract flies, and it was very effective. The surface of the cap was sticky, but also deeply grooved with a net pattern of sharp ridges and shallow valleys. To keep slime from washing off before it had a chance to be picked up by fly feet? Although  well past prime, there was still evidence of a lacy indusium. My field guide suggested this was to help non flying insects access the spore slime. I was intrigued by the variety of flies, and that they were non competitive, and seemingly unaware of each other. Why was Stinkhorn solitary, but the tiny brown mushrooms two feet away in a group of 50 to 70.image
    • Elizabeth
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      suhasini
      Stump
    • Christy
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      ChristyMorrow
      IMG_4328IMG_4329This is really fun.  I love writing down my observations, explanations, and questions.  I haven't figured out my style yet, but hopefully I will before the end of this class.
    • Kim
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      KATrue
      image0 copy 2
    • Chris
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      spiderman97219
      I really enjoyed this project - I saw more of the intricate  details of the plants then I would have . Thanks  Chris sketchHEIC
    • Seth
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      sfb28806
      VPL I am at a conference in Colorado; it is always weird to go artificially fast (airplane) from the Southern Appalachians to the Rockies.  I sat in the Vail Public Library for 30 minutes and watched snow accumulate on trees along a ravine.  It was a very enjoyable moment.  Changes: how the conifer branches took on the snow (becoming more weighted down, etc); how the snowflakes went from granular and small while I was walking outside to large and fluffy while I was sitting inside observing.  I asked myself questions about human impact on the space I was observing.  Did this ravine always exist in tis present form, or did the road/town development change its shape/volume of water going through it.  There is a footbridge with culverts over the creek.  Which plants/animals have thrived from humans and which have not?
    • gretchen
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      geebider3
      I have noticed that the birds in my yard are most active in the morning and only a few are active later in the day. imageThe chickadees and a wren are more bold, the sparrows stay close to the trees and are only visible in the morning. Are birds like us, needing breakfast after a long night of no food? Where do the sparrows go for the rest of the day ? Why are city sparrows so bold and my gold crown and white crowned sparrows so shy? Do birds have different personalities?
    • Jessica
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      Jessica_Ballard
      I looked at a plant that had palm-like leaves (I don't know what the name is) and noticed it's form and function. The leaves looked as though they were sliced up, causing them to have large gaps in between them, which could be due to the wind action since the leaves felt thin. Also, the stem was thick and curved downward to the roots, this could help the water slide down the leaves and reach the roots without any water being lost. It's interesting to see how plants are able to adapt to their environmental conditions and it seems that this plant was thriving since it was about 10 feet in height. Palm Leaf
    • Lily
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      lilypage
      The cooler weather is creating very obvious and not so obvious change here.  Most of the trees have not started to loose leaves or have the leaves change color yet, but the ground plants are brown and mostly dead.  The birds that come to my feeders have changed since some have started migration.  There are now many cardinals, sparrows, nuthatches, chickadees.  There is one hummingbird still coming in for a drink, and I am concerned about why she hasn't migrated with the others.  The birds are eating more now, and eating differently.  They are eating more from the suet than in the summer.  The feeders that have mealworms are the more popular now also, so the birds must be stocking up for winter.  The deer are changing from the red brown to the brown gray which is much harder to spot amongst the bare gray trees.  The deer are also not traveling in very large groups right now, and they are more skittish.  When horseback riding in the woods, the deer don't normally take much notice of me, but now they are more wary.
    • Montecito
      Participant
      Chirps: 22
      favelasco
      I never thought before about asking myself why things are like they are in nature. It has been difficult for me doing this assignment because i have not so much nature close to me, but I was observing a dove near my house, It was alone, Why? Why was that dove alone in a really small park? Was it a young male with out a partner? Probably is not time for mating. Was it searching for food? or just resting a while before completing its journey?
    • Joannie
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      galjag
      Virginia Creeper JPeg
    • Judith
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      judewisewoman
      I observed the top portion of the trunk of a white birch that fell in my yard.  The tree is a victim of disease caused by a birch borer.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, the tree has an abundance of moss and lichens along its trunk.  I noticed that the mosses tend to cluster on bumps on the trunk.  Do they find a better grip there?  Are there more nutrients?  What about the tiny green dots that grow in irregular clusters on the trunk near where it touches the ground.  Are they algae?  Do they like being close to more moisture?  Perhaps they like being more sheltered from the  bright morning sunlight.birch log
    • William
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      mickelboro
      I was a bit aggravated when I noticed the squirrels digging in the new mulch, planting acorns around my bushes.  While standing there looking at their handiwork I saw a pattern in the squirrels digging.  This makesDSC_9451 me wonder was this a method that they use or was it a random thing that just happened.  I will pay attention and see if it will happen next time.
      • Elizabeth
        Participant
        Chirps: 9
        Ek2012
        That’s a very interesting observation! Nice sketch too.
    • Christine
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      ChubbellCS
      F62AA41C-D218-4B89-9264-3BC715E08CEB
      • Tracy
        Participant
        Chirps: 1
        Tracy_Stebbins
        Lovely!
    • Peggy
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      pegs-birder
      A8FF5790-1772-43DE-8930-52C167324564Spent about 20 minutes watching a  Great Blue Heron on the S Platte River this morning. Watching him (or her?) I kept wondering how and where they sleep and if they are prey for all of the coyotes in this area. It was interesting when I first sat down on the opposite shore, the heron immediately moved about 10 ft away and seemed very alert to my presence. By the time I got up to leave, I made a little noise but it didn’t seem to bother him at all.
    • Sandy
      Participant
      Chirps: 20
      SRMelton
      IMG_2600
    • Sandy
      Participant
      Chirps: 20
      SRMelton
      IMG_2599-1
    • kathleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      pajaroenmano
      image
      • Karen O
        Participant
        Chirps: 14
        KarenOlgaz
        Nice milk snake drawing! I think they are carnivorous: rodents insects, small invertebrates. Their name is a misnomer. But their patterns  beautiful.
    • Cheryl
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      BirderCheryl
      I have noticed over the past few years of observing birds in our yard that the small Inca quail have been pushed out while more and more white-winged and mourning doves have appeared. Eurasian collared doves have moved into our area, but not my yard yet, thankfully. However, I have observed rock doves (feral pigeons) moving steadily eastward in our valley. They used to congregate further to the west. A year ago I saw them in a neighbor's yard, less than a mile west of me. This year one found our feeders and now we get up to eight at a time. (I was surprised to see how big a pigeon appears next to a dove!). I wonder if the pigeon and larger dove habitats are expanding because they've been successful and need more room. Why did the Inca doves, once fairly regular visitors to my yard, disappear? Could they not compete with the larger doves? I've noticed how aggressive the larger doves are, especially to others of their species as well as the Gambel's quail. Did they drive the Inca doves away? Are the quail still successful because they stand their ground? Finches and sparrows are also smaller, but are holding (more than) their own, but the doves tend to ignore them. As I write, I hear the rather annoying sound of a white-winged dove driving another bird away. I'd like to figure out how to feed the Gambel's quail and not the doves!
    • Susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      Sustra
      Observation: In fall when leaves turn Burning Bush is a pale pink in 3 areas of my yard and bright red/pink at the end of the driveway. They are offshoots of the same plant so no difference in type/genus. Possible Explanations: Different soil make up with more of a particular nutrient to cause brighter color? Questions:  What soil compositions affect color? Can it be added to other Burning Bushes to brighten color?
    • Donna
      Participant
      Chirps: 32
      donnacnh
      imageA friend found this insect in the grass of the field that we were in today, we held and looked at if for a few minutes before it flew away. I documented it in my nature journal when I got home, since I did not have it with me in this field today.
    • Donna
      Participant
      Chirps: 32
      donnacnh
      image It is foliage season in New Hampshire, dusk this time of year is interesting.  I wonder why dusk seems so much brighter.  Do yellow and orange leaves reflect the sunset better than green leaves? I used pencil to sketch in some trees using some hatching practice, then used colored pencils in the same method to represent the foliage colors. My dog and I walk the same nature path often, today there were not many birds.  Do hawks hunt better when it is overcast? Most of the birds we saw kept to the lower shrubbery and under the leaves.
    • Susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      margsea
      IMG_4073There were over 100 sea gulls at the Lagoon why so many birds? perhaps there are a lot of fish in the Lagoon this year. our summer was cooler this year, perhaps the fish were more abundant because of the higher water levels and cooler temperatures. More gulls because of more food
      • Tom
        Participant
        Chirps: 20
        ebirdtgill
        I liked your “report” as I enjoy looking at and trying to ID all birds and was told by a Serious Birder that gulls are great subjects to hone the art of seeing.  They are plentiful (as you’ve noted), many of them sit still for long periods and perhaps most useful, there may be several different types (species?) in the same area which allows for comparisons to be made.  I like to use binoculars and when appropriate, a small spotting scope for up-close observation.  I really enjoy reading others’ entries after the chapters in this course. I wish some of the photos were clearer, it’s often hard to read what people wrote though like you, some type in the main notes.  Thanks for uploading your pic and report.
    • Jean
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      Jean_Smith
      We had a vary wet spring and summer. Now we have a super mast crop.  We are also dealing with an outbreak of EEE and they are warning of a spike in tick borne illnesses this fall.  Changes in weather patterns have many consequences for most systems.  Changes in populations can affect many species, more ticks means fewer moose. More coyotes seems to mean fewer foxes.  I find it interesting that bald eagles and ospreys are both recovering at the same time, which suggests that they have not yet reached carrying capacity of the fish population. (That is the most positive thing I’ve said in a long time.)
    • Sarah
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      Smyrna38
      There seem to be fewer raptors/predators than prey. Knowing they are unsuccessful more often than not, how is the abundance of prey designed to help both predators and prey survive? Examples: dozens of frogs in a pond with one Great Blue Heron and one Green Heron; 30 or so Eastern Bluebirds in a flock with one Sharp-shinned Hawk zooming by; 12 squirrels in my back yard area but one pair of Red-shouldered Hawks raising one or 2 young.
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