Monthly Archives: September 2014

Reading the Signs

  Although this sign was designed to convey information to people that visit the area, this dragonfly has apparently found it to his liking.     Based on the wing positions and according to my reference sources, this male eastern pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis) may be engaging in thermo-regulation, or it may simply be resting it... Continue reading »
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Yonquapin Leaves

  These yonquapin leaves (Nelumbo lutea) seem to be floating ethereally on the water surface.  Something about the light and surface conditions on this day combined to create an illusion of formlessness about the water.     I have seen similar conditions on a foggy day where it was hard to know where the water... Continue reading »
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Underwater Waves of Sand?

  In his discussion of the processes associated with the formation of point bars on the Mississippi River, Saucier (1994:109) notes that “In more complex terms, a point bar is a composite of sediments that are transported as underwater dunes in the stream channel.”     While this may be old hat to some, the... Continue reading »
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The Red Dragonfly Pond

  Places should have names, especially if you want to write about them in your outdoor journal or field notebook.  While in some instances society has already provided the names, in other instances one has to gin them up on one’s own.     Prior to coining the name, The Red Dragonfly Pond, this small... Continue reading »
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“Swims, wades, and climbs bushes”

  The behavioral comment in the Peterson Field Guide for Eastern Birds seems to pretty well nail the range of activities of the purple gallinule.  Based on this observation, I guess we will have to include the taller grasses in the “climbs bushes” category.     The grass here is southern wild rice (Zizaniopsis miliacea),... Continue reading »
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Laughing Gulls – Mississippi

  This little aggregation of laughing gulls seems to have the situation under control.     As I watched, the barber shop quartet became a trio.     While the ensemble sorted things out on the curb, this nearby loner inspected the parking lot.     Apparently you never can tell when a stray potato... Continue reading »
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White Ibis Foraging in the Woods

  On a couple of occasions recently (early May 2014), I have noticed white ibis foraging in the woods.  I have only seen one or two birds at a time so the possibility of them being mated pairs occurred to me, but if so, who’s minding the nest?  Also, in at least one instance, one... Continue reading »
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Screech Owls

  While out in the backyard the other night (5 Aug 2014), I heard three to five screech owls calling to each other.  Each of the calls was somewhat different from the others, but they all had a quality that seemed to suggest that screech owls were the participants in the conversation.  Although I had... Continue reading »
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Woodland Pool and/or Vernal Pool?

  In Maine, as of late-April 2014, most of the snow was past, mud season seems to have been compressed or didn’t really occur, and vernal pool season apparently had arrived.     This small, shallow, woodland depression was inundated with clear, ponded water 6- to 12-inches deep.  The pool was warmed by vernal sunlight... Continue reading »
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Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Kansas

  In the blackbird and grackle clan, nothing seems quite as distinctive as the yellow-headed blackbird.  In the appropriate range, even the trusty red-winged blackbird could potentially be confused with the tricolored blackbird (or more frustrating, vice versa).     The yellow head and breast of the male of the species is like a marsh... Continue reading »
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