Sunday, November 29, 2020

Swan Reflection


An immature mute swan, with a few gray cygnet feathers, leaves a spreading wake behind as it sails across the still pond. Click to enlarge. Its reflection reminds me of this from the poet Thomas Hood:   

"There's a double beauty whenever a swan

Swims on a lake with her double thereon."

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Have A Safe Thanksgiving!

The wild turkeys above saw me looking at them and headed into the woods.  
Because of the CDC's warning about the high threat of Covid-19 right now, I'll be celebrating this year's Thanksgiving at home with my household only. As they say, we'll stay apart for now so we can all be together in the future. Click to enlarge.

This is how a turkey looks in a surgical mask.

I used to wish I could be in the country so I could see wild turkeys. Now they've expanded into suburban New Jersy and are walking on the sidewalks of my town, where I took this picture. It's proof that sometimes good things happen. Happy Thanksgiving to all! 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Falling Leaves


I've spent most of the weekend raking leaves for garden mulch. A great many more of them are ready to fall. I give you the poem "November Night" by Adelaide Crapsey 


With faint dry sound, 

 Like steps of passing ghosts,

The leaves, frost-crisp'd, break from the trees

And fall. 

Click to enlarge.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

The 2020 Presidential Election

I'm taking a day off from nature blogging to recover from days of watching election returns. I offer for your enjoyment, the poem I hear America Singing by Walt Whitman.

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Halloween Afterglow


The decorations were delicious! Click to enlarge.

Daylight Saving Time ends this weekend. If you have not yet turned your clocks back an hour, there is still time to claim your extra hour of sleep.

Sunday, October 25, 2020



It's Halloween week!

An excellent time for long leaf-kicking walks.

Wildlife raids on decorations. Click to enlarge.

Suburban turkey sightings.

And other fun stuff.

Celebrate safely, my friends!

Sunday, October 18, 2020

2020 Amphibian and Reptile Review


I don't have the well developed sensitivity for spotting reptiles and amphibians that I have for birds, so I don't see nearly as many. Their ability to evade detection by sitting still and the use of outright camouflage probably also helps them avoid me. Exhibit one is the above photo of a deftly concealed leopard frog. Click to enlarge.

Then there are Fowler's toads that are abundant in New Jersey and that I suspect see me much more often than I see them. They blend in and sit still. Do you see one in this photo?

See it now?

Well played, hidden toad!

Adding to my roundup of amphibians and reptiles I've seen this year that haven't yet made it into a blog, I give you the red eared slider turtle. I often see them basking in the sun like those above. Basking is good for them: it helps them regulate their body temperature; make vitamin D; and dry their shells, which wards off problems with fungi, algae, and parasites.

Here's a painted turtle that I met on a sandy path in the pine barrens. I've been known to pull off a road when I see one of these trying to cross, and go back to pick it up and carry it safely to the other side.

Lastly, this week I was working in the yard on a sunny day and made a pile a leaves. When I picked up the pile later this little garter snake had crawled underneath. What a perfect spot for a snake: concealed, damp, and warmed by the sun.