Thursday, July 11, 2013

Baby Mantis

This is the smallest praying mantis (Mantis religiosa) that I have been able to document...perhaps around 5/8" long.
 They are typically found in the boxwood shrubs on the north side of the house. They manifest themselves during the dog-days of late summer when the shrubs are in need of watering.  They don't seem to appreciate the shower as it forces them out of the dark inner recesses of the boxwood canopy where they hunt their prey. This baby found temporary refuge on the side of the house.

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Rain of Toads

I have noticed an explosion in the toad population this year. I did an informal survey of an area 25' x75' and within a few minutes had counted 5 baby fowler's toads (Bufo fowleri). This is undoubtedly due to the wet late-spring and summer. Last summer we had a severe drought. This year we are around 9" above our normal for the year and our rainfall at the end of June is more than last year's total for the entire year.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Mama Wolf Spider

All of my recent discoveries seem to have been in my vegetable garden beds and this is no exception. I was cutting down the fallow vines from this spring's sugar snap peas (Yum!) and I was busy chopping them up for composting when I saw this wolf spider (Lycosidae) with her spinneret-attached egg sac ambling amongst the stubble.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Lonely Snake Egg

Another garden bed discovery. Whilst I was turning over the soil, this small soft egg appeared. It was alone when I spotted it and I did not find any companions. It is too small to be a box turtle egg and I do know that some snake eggs can be this size. I carefully moved it to a safe, nearby compost pile.

Update: I have determined that this is a skink egg.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The flycatcher expectantly follows me
As my mower flushes its fodder from the grass.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Two for One

I spotted this young fowler's toad (Bufo fowleri) in the vegetable garden. I was surprised that he remained still sufficiently long so as to allow me to take a picture on a ruler.

Not but a few minutes later, I uncovered old Scarback in the same garden bed. He had buried himself under some mulched grass clippings.

All is Well

At dusk in the woods,
a gentle rain heard
on the canopy,
fireflies alighting,
peepers croaking,
and the final calls
of the peewee.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Overnight Deluge

We received over 5 inches of rain between 3:00 am and 8:00 am.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Stream Sampling

Our first stream sampling event of the season. I was surprised to see that the stream was somewhat low, given that we have had quite a bit of rain this spring. On the other hand, the mosquitos were quite voracious.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bluebird Update


8 Days Old

 15 Days Old

At 15 days old they are leaving the nest.

Friday, May 10, 2013


We had two frosts whilst the apple trees were in full bloom. Here are the consequences.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Old Scarback

I was wonderng when old Scarback was going to show himself. My first sighting of the year. I normally see him a bit earlier in the spring, but it has been unseasonably cool this year. I was digging a hole in the perennial bed to plant an apple tree and there he was.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bluebird Eggs

First clutch of bluebird eggs of the season.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Empty to Full

This is a series of photos of a small pond that I pass during my regular walks in the country near our home. (I apologize for the rather low picture quality. These were taken with a smartphone)

The drought last summer (2012) was so severe that this little pond completely dried up. The owner used the situation to do some repair work on it in August.

By October we had finally recieved some much needed rain and the pond was beginning to fill with water.

And by April, the pond was filled to the brim from the heavy spring rains.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Creek Flow

We received 3.5 inches of rain overnight and at first light, I took a picture of the creek that I mentioned in my last post and placed it side-by-side with the previous photo. Judging by the evidence of deposited leaves and other debris, the creek would have been about a foot higher than shown in the picture during its peak flow at night.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Tornado Warning in January?

This afternoon, it was 63 °F with 92% humidity. Quite unusual for January. Even more odd was hearing a tornado siren! We received quite a bit of rain and here is a shot taken looking out my window and facing north. The water collects on the north end of our property and drains into an intermittent creek that circles our land and is just out of sight in the woods. (I apologize for the low was taken with my smartphone)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Short Stroll By The Creek

Behind our home towards the south is a wooded area. About 30 feet into the woods is a small creek that encircles the property and which only flows during heavy rains. To call it an intermittent stream would be an exaggeration. 

Along the creek in a sand bank, I spotted a partial raccoon track. Based on the size, it appears to be a front foot.

This tree with a beautiful mosaic of fungi was laying across the creek bed.

Just above one the creek banks I discovered a hollowed-out red oak that I had not previously noticed. The opening at the bottom on the inside was about 2 feet in diameter. Seeing it reminded me of one of my favorite books as a boy....My Side of the Mountain.