Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Flora and Fauna!

Oh how I have come to love the Flora and Fauna of my little nature spot!  Years ago I read about the benefits of children spending an hour in a particular nature spot each week and then writing in their journal about it.  I think it was part of some Waldorf School education materials.  It sounded very reasonable and right to me.

There is something truly educational about examining the same little nature spot over a period of time.  Plants grow and change.  Animals visit and leave.  And the seasons change.  Being in the same little spot teaches you about our beautiful world in a personal and direct way.

Here are today's observations:

"Virginia Waterleaf" is the name of a delicate lavender flower that is now in bloom.  It practically covers the forest floor!

Flies are always finding something tasty on the leaves of the Virginia Waterleaf.

Sticking their tongues out and walking along the hairy surface.  The sap must be especially sweet.

Small little furry clusters develop below the branching leaves.

A stem grows below the cluster and reaches it up and away from the plant. In a few days the flower bursts open!

And cascades down like beautiful little purple bells!

Attracting the loud and buzzing bumble bees!

I find that I am no longer the slightest bit alarmed by the sight or sound of a bumble bee.

I just watch them.  Up close and personal.  They come within inches of my face, my arms, my legs.  They are just beautiful!  Out gathering nectar.  With their long hungry tongues.

When I first went into the forest, the tiny fauna were missing.  No flies.  No spiders.  No ants. No bees.  Nothing.  All was quiet in the bug world.

Now the forest is positively brimming with insects!  Great clouds of white lacy flies puff up as I walk in.  But they don't bite.  They don't land on me.  They just relocate to another spot and settle down again on the underside of the leaves.  Bees buzz by.  All colors and sizes of flies land near me.  Spiderwebs are draped like art installments from various little twigs.

They are all fascinating!  Going about their busy work for the day.

The trees have completely leafed out now.  Making a fine green umbrella to protect me from the bright sunlight!

But this also makes it harder to spot birds!  I have to rely on my ears more.

This grackle was doing his distinctive cackle---laughing at me for a long time---until I found him with his yellow eyes amongst some tender yellow leaves!

There were two new bird species in the woods today!  This little House Wren hasn't been seen before.  I recognized a new little song---and was able to snap a quick picture before she flitted off.

And this pretty gray catbird was new as well!  With a black fuzzy head and gray body.  It has a call that sounds like a cat meowing.

Just before I went in, I looked out on the lake and saw this grand procession!  17 goslings all in a row!  And Mamma and Papa Goose doing a fine job of raising their gaggle!

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