Sunday, January 29, 2023

More Winter Flowers!


Crocuses are blooming in my yard! Click to enlarge.
                            
 To celebrate, the poem Hocus Pocus by Lilja Rogers: 
 
 "First, a howling blizzard woke us,

 
Then the rain came down to soak us,

 
And now before the eye can focus –

 
Crocus.”
 

 

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Snowdrops Are Up!

 

I saw my first snowdrops of the year yesterday. I know it is still far off but here is a sign that spring is coming. Click to enlarge.

Snowdrops are pretty little flowers and well adapted for their role as January bloomers. They produce proteins that act like biological antifreeze to keep their sap from freezing. They have strong leaf tips that let them push up through frozen soil and snow. They usually reproduce asexually from bulbs dividing underground. Too cold for bees? No problem.


"Chaste snowdrop, venturous harbinger of Spring,
and pensive monitor of fleeting years!"

 ...from To a Snowdrop by William Wordsworth

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Jumpy Jumpy Crickets

Male above, female below. Click to enlarge.
        

 "To have a cricket on the hearth, is the luckiest thing in all the world!" 

Charles Dickens

    The good luck that Dickens refers to may depend on the kind of cricket we’re talking about. I’m guessing not the ones in the picture, greenhouse camel crickets. I am not squeamish about insects, but one of these things jumped at me recently, causing me to scream and run. They are of Asian origin, and once thought to be established in the US only in the greenhouses from which they get their common name. A recent study revealed that they are actually more common in homes in the eastern US than native camel crickets. Click here to read that study. I saw this pair with many others of their kind in a heated restroom in a local county park. They were just hanging out. Quiet and motionless. Until they jumped.

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Creature of the Year 2022

 

Competition was stiff for the 2022 Urban Wildlife Guide Creature of the Year Award (the UWG-COTYA). Congratulations to the winner, laughing gull with french fry! This audacious snack-snatching bird was featured in the “Labor Day Weekend“ blog of last September. Click on this sentence to revisit that blog. Take a bow, bold gull.

In the event laughing gull is unable to fulfill the duties of Creature Of The Year, first runner-up, amazing green flower will step in. This is the first time in UWG-COTYA  history that a plant has been chosen for the honor. Congratulations you stunning, unexpectedly colored zinnia! Click here to visit the flower’s original blog. Click to enlarge.

Congratulations and appreciation to all the creatures who made 2022 more interesting. Happy New Year and good wishes to all for a wonderful 2023!

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Happy 2023!

 

I hope the rest of the year is as much fun as today's Philadelphia Mummer's Parade was. Click to enlarge.

And that we all get lots of opportunities to dance in the street.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Merry Christmas!


 
“Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!”
 
        ― Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Winter Is Coming!


Astronomical winter begins in the northern hemisphere this Wednesday, December 21. It will be the shortest day of the year. After that the days will lengthen, slowly at first, then in increasing increments. In Philadelphia the sun sets today at 4:37. Next week, on Christmas day, at 4:41. Things will get brighter. That's the good news. On the other hand, I'm already pretty cold and winter hasn't even started yet. Click to enlarge.

And now a timely poem. Winter Trees by William Carlos Williams:

"All the complicated details 


of the attiring 

and 
the disattiring are completed!


A liquid moon
 

moves gently among 


the long branches.


Thus having prepared their buds


against a sure winter


the wise trees


stand sleeping in the cold."