Blog Archives

Spring Photos – Turtles, Mayapples, and Insects, Oh My!

Large unripe fruit of the May Apple, Podophyllum peltatum

Large unripe fruit of the May Apple, Podophyllum peltatum

Eastern Box Turtle. Female by tell of eye color and flatness of plastron (bottom shell area). Copyright The Roaming Naturalist.

Eastern Box Turtle. Female by tell of eye color and flatness of plastron (bottom shell area). Copyright The Roaming Naturalist.

My red potatoes are flowering! Grown in a 5 gallon bucket. Copyright The Roaming Naturalist.

My red potatoes are flowering! Grown in a 5 gallon bucket. Copyright The Roaming Naturalist.

Another Eastern Box Turtle, obviously trying to take over the world. Ranger photo, Maryland Park Service.

Not sure of the common name - found "leather beetle" or "horned passalus." Odontotaenius disjunctus. Either way, huge. Photo courtesy of Ranger S. Andrucyk, Maryland Park Service.

Not sure of the common name – found “leather beetle” or “horned passalus.” Odontotaenius disjunctus. Either way, huge. Photo courtesy of Ranger S. Andrucyk, Maryland Park Service.

Luna Moth, courtesy of Ranger S. Andrucyk, Maryland Park Service.

Luna Moth, courtesy of Ranger S. Andrucyk, Maryland Park Service.

White Ermine Moth, Spilosoma lubricipeda. Photo courtesy of Ranger S. Andrucyk, Maryland Park Service.

White Ermine Moth, Spilosoma lubricipeda. Photo courtesy of Ranger S. Andrucyk, Maryland Park Service.

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Watchful eye. Eastern Box Turtle. Copyright The Roaming Naturalist.

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April showers bring… wait, no, not in the desert.

Hello everyone! I’ve been away a bit (schooling and applying for a program in zoology), but I’m back, and I have some flower photos for you to gaze upon today to rest your weary mind. It’s May Day, the first of May and harbinger of spring (and therefore.. SUMMER!). While folks at my alma mater are running around naked, plants in the lower plains of the sagebrush steppe of Central Oregon to blossom. It’s still cold as all get-out some nights (the peonies are drooping so sadly this morning), but we have that nice blazing sun during the day. Enjoy!

More Golden Currant!

Golden Currant (Ribes aureum)!

Golden Currant.

More Golden Currant!

The fleeting Sand Lily, one of the first flowers of the season in this climate.

The fleeting Sand Lily (Leucocrinum montanum), one of the first flowers of the season.

Backyard crab-apple getting ready to burst forth!

Backyard crab-apple getting ready to burst forth!

 

For those of you that may not know, magnolias are one of my all-time favorite blossoms. While none of them grow in Central Oregon, they are abundant just on the other side of the Cascades in Portland, where I’ve been spending a fair amount of time. I managed to grasp just a few images in my travels of the magnificent flowers.

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Thanks for visiting and happy Wednesday to you!

WHAT THE EF IS THIS THING

Okay, I know I’m the naturalist and all, but I just found this creature in my bathroom and almost fell over. Spiders don’t bother me, wasps don’t bother me, zombies don’t bother me, but THIS thing is somewhere in the middle of all that AND IT BOTHERS ME.

Edit: According to Dan Proud, intrepid invertebrate explorer, here’s what we’re looking at:

[These animals are incredible! They are arachnids, like spiders, but belong to the order Solifugae (formerly Solpugida). They are commonly called sun spiders, camel spiders, wind scorpions or sun scorpions. However, they are neither spiders nor scorpions!

There are many myths regarding the size and speed of these animals. They are quite fast for invertebrates but they tend to move in short bursts of speed and cannot sustain top speeds (roughly 10mph). There are only slightly more than 1000 species known, they are mainly nocturnal and most live in dry, arid desert or semi-desert environments, perhaps explaining why few people know of them.

You should definitely read more about them – here’s a good website: http://www.solpugid.com/Introduction.htm]

So there you have it. Still terrifying though.

Check out Dan’s awesome site here!

Week-End’s Photo Montage

A peak at Vision Quest camp 2012, hosted by Four Winds Foundation, dedicated to continuing the traditional ways of our ancestors. Learn more at http://www.fwfoundation.com!

Roaming at Smith Rock State Park

roam: verb - To move about without purpose or plan; to wander.

On a blazing hot Sunday several weeks ago, I visited one of the most amazing spots in Central Oregon, a state park called Smith Rock State Park. It’s a haven for rock climbers, as tall cliff faces shoot into the air at steep angles and varying sizes. For hikers like me, it’s a spot of sagebrush steppe with meandering trails and an array of plants and critters that can keep one occupied all day. It was a beautiful day in the rocks and always an education: as I sat on a sun-baked rock enjoying my lunch, I glanced down to see that I had chosen a spot which ants had chosen  long before me. I’d disturbed their home, and they were haphazardly scurrying across both of my feet and up my legs. I leapt into the air, squawking and dancing and stomping like a madwoman. It’s a shame I don’t have it on video. After apologizing profusely for killing several of their tribesmen in my surprise and panic, I offered them a hunk of my lunch. They examined it and, after deeming it unworthy, returned to their subterranean home. Apparently ants don’t care for fried fish.

One of my favorite things about dogs is that they are happy to visit just about anywhere – desert, beach, forest, whatever. They are eternally up for adventure.

The beautiful carvings of beetles.

I have decided that the doggie backpack is an essential item for the owner of high-energy dogs. A few hot hours carrying his own water around and he’ll sleep for the rest of the day.

Smith Rock’s craggy peaks and thirsty slopes.

The sun shines through waxy Oregon Grape leaves and the air is thick with the perfume of the plant’s tiny yellow flowers. Drunk on nectar, bees float heavily from bush to bush.

This is the first time I’ve gotten to see Curl Leaf Mountain Mahogany in bloom in person! The flowers are utterly tiny and easy to miss, but upon close inspection they’re actually quite beautiful and fragrant. This is a tree of serious drought tolerance, a very cool species.

Another shot of the Mountain Mahogany.

Word of the Week: Passerine

Today’s word is:

passerine

PronouncedPASS-er-in

Sciency Definition: A member of the order Passeriformes, the largest group of the class Aves.

Or I could have saidPerching bird.

What’s it do?  Members of the order Passeriformes are the perching birds, which include more than half of the living species of birds. They each possess feet adapted for perching or clinging. “Song birds” are all passerines but not all passerines are song birds; song birds just have the best use of the muscles used for creating vocalizations (the syrinx). Some song birds, instead of singing, create an incredible range of sounds including clicks, croaks, and mimics of sounds they hear in their environments.

Example sentence: Despite being categorized as passerines, crows and ravens do not use their syrinx muscles to produce songs.

Baby scrub jays might be passerines, but they have a song only a mother could love!

To see a video of one of the greatest passerine mimics on the planet, click here to watch a video of the Australian Lyrebird in action.

It’s NEST CAM season!

Wahh hoo! I love this time of year – since I’m stuck inside all day, I can vicariously get my nature fix by watching nest cameras. This year there are some particularly yummy ones. Check them out! If you know of any other cameras up and running, please leave them in the comments section.

Of course, my favorite, a hummingbird nest in a California rosebush. If you get a chance to see her eggs before they hatch, they’re approximately the size of small jellybeans. Here’s another cam, but I can’t locate info as to where the cam is or what species this is. Maybe Florida? The baby looks like a tiny echidna! …okayonemore.

Eagles in Decorah, Iowa. Here’s a clip of mom gently adjusting the eggs, then wiggling herself down over them so they’re nuzzled against her brood patch.

Big Red is a Red Tailed Hawk that happens to be nesting on the campus of Cornell University in Pennsylvania, famous for its ornithological research.

Here’s a gorgeous view of a Peregrine Falcon in Minnesota, and Barn Owls in California!

Weekend Photo Montage

I recently got to go home to the East Coast for the first time in a year and was overwhelmed with joy for seeing my family! My niece has grown so incredibly much in just one year, and she’s now becoming all kinds of independent. I was able to visit with two of my three brothers and spend a great deal of time with my Momma Bird, who is simply one of my favorite people in the world (and not just ‘cuz she tells me I’m awesome and makes me food. But that’s definitely part of it).

I hope you all are having a good February. Thanks for tuning in and here are some photos from my trip home! Happy Wednesday!

My niece at the National Aquarium's dolphin tank. This pic makes my heart soo happy.

Beech trees, my old friends.

Very Merry Berry Go Round (#47)

I’m quite ecstatic to be hosting my very first blog carnival, so merry berry to ME! Thanks to the team at BGR!

It’s unseasonably warm for December here in Central Oregon, and this is one naturalist that is not complaining. (Though I have to keep my mouth shut around the skiiers, they’re a testy bunch.) To celebrate the sunshine, we’re going to look at some decidedly warm-timey articles that focus on pollination. Because, dammit, I need flowers in the winter.

Thanks for reading. Away we go!

The Old Drone (love the name!) wants you to know just how fascinating it is that tomatoes are self-pollenizing. Which is different than self-pollinating!

Bug Girl kindly gives a review of the new app for selecting plants for your region, developed with pollinators in mind.

Zen at the NeuroDojo reviews a paper that looks deeper into the idea of flower color as a necessity for pollinator attraction.

Slugyard helps us understand lupine pollination and even gives us a video to watch! Wah hoo!

The Carnivorous Plant Blog shows us a beautiful image of Darlingtonia‘s bits and a brief, simple method of pollinating the little darling. (Har!)

And finally, this post over at the Field Notebook just made me completely lose touch with reality and drift off into a daydream of spring, blooms, and the buzzing of bees and hummingbirds.. zzz.. bzzzz…

[blink] Anyway! To contribute something of my own, here’s a pic of a happy little bee getting a face full of lavender that I took two summers ago. Mmmm, summer.. flowers.. bees.. sunshine..

IS IT SPRING YET?!

Be sure to visit Berry Go Round’s main page, and, just for fun, I’ve added a few extras to get your springtime spirit bouncing around. Enjoy and happy blogging!

Web Exhibits explores the relationship between butterflies and color.

Longwood Gardens offers a fun, interactive site for you (or your children) to build their own flowers and learn about pollination.

The US Forest Service has a lot of great info, pics, and ideas on their Celebrating Wildflowers site! Check it out!

Weekend photo montage

As per usual, this holiday season has been busy busy buzzing for me – working, sewing for the Etsy shop, sewing holiday gifts in lieu of buying presents – it’s been fun, but am I tired. Sunka has been a good, patient pup through this bonanza of activity, so I treated him to a hike in one of my favorite spots along the river. After 3 miles he was ready for more, but the cold wind and warm sun insisted that I immediately go home and nap. I got out the old Hipstamatic for fun. Happy solstice!

Naked snowberries, waiting for quail.

Patterns in the ice found in a river boulder pothole.

My faithful explorer friend.