• Maidie
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      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
      image
    • Laurie
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      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
      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: 22
      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
      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
        I like the way you write over the water colors for each scene. Nice!
      • Sallie
        Participant
        Chirps: 11

        @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
      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
      Stump
    • Christy
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      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
      image0 copy 2
    • Chris
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      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
      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
      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
      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
      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
      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
      Virginia Creeper JPeg
    • Judith
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      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
      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
        That’s a very interesting observation! Nice sketch too.
    • Christine
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      F62AA41C-D218-4B89-9264-3BC715E08CEB
    • Peggy
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      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: 32
      IMG_2600
    • Sandy
      Participant
      Chirps: 32
      IMG_2599-1
    • kathleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      image
      • Karen O
        Participant
        Chirps: 14
        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
      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!