Congratulations, you’ve decided to take up birdwatching. You’ve got the binoculars, the latest field guide or phone app, and the dorky hat. The extras can come later—the spotting scope, the camera with a long telephoto lens, the airplane tickets for that exotic birding destination. For now, you’re excited to begin, so you head to the nearest nature center or other birding hotspot.Continue reading “Start with Ducks”
What do you bring your flower-loving Valentine? Do you opt for the traditional dozen long-stemmed roses? If the recipient loves roses, that may well be your best option, even though it may set you back $50 or more. But if your sweetheart loves all kinds of flowers, you can do better than tradition.Continue reading “Beyond Roses”
As I mentioned last month, the birds we see in the field are rarely posed like the illustrations in our field guides. Rather, we see them from underneath, or with parts hidden by leaves, or, as is so often the case, flying away. When it comes to dabbling ducks (and some other waterfowl), we may find that the most helpful field marks are underwater, and all we’re treated to is a view of the tail. If only we had a field guide that portrays these birds bottoms-up!Continue reading “February’s Bird Quiz”
When we think of milkweeds, we typically think in terms of those plants that Monarch butterflies eat. And yes, Monarch larvae are dependent on milkweeds. The leaves contain toxic chemicals (cardenolide) that the insects feeding on them can incorporate into their own bodies, making them unpalatable to predators.Continue reading “Milkweeds: Not Just for Monarchs”
While I love birding someplace new, there’s also something special about having a tradition of revisiting the same spot at the same time, year after year. My friend Debbie’s birthday is December 29, and we do our best to reserve the date for our traditional trip to Eleven Mile Canyon.Continue reading “Eleven Mile Canyon Again”
Right on schedule, Pantone has revealed the color of the year for 2021. In a break with tradition, there are actually two colors—a bright, buttery yellow called Illuminating, and Ultimate Gray. The minute I saw the yellow, I thought, perfect choice! It’s cheerful, and after 2020, we need all the cheering up we can get. But gray? Most of 2020 was a dismal, gray year, and the thought of facing yet another year like that is downright depressing. I don’t need to reinforce those bleak feelings.Continue reading “A Pantone “Color of the Year” Garden”
I left you hanging last month. I injured my back, and wasn’t able to sit in a chair long enough to write much of anything. My blog took a back seat to simply getting essential tasks done. No fun. Now I’m scheduled for back surgery, so my posts will have to be sporadic until I fully recover. Still, if one has to be sidelined, I’m glad it’s happening now, while the pandemic keeps us mostly home in any case.Continue reading “An Answer, and Another Quiz”
Now that you’ve made it to the end of the year, it’s time for a challenge. By now you should realize that all the quiz birds this year were females. Most females lack bright colors, but I couldn’t resist the Christmas colors on this gorgeous lady.
She was was photographed in Australia in October. What species is she? (It’s a bit of a sexist name, actually.)
The answer will appear at the end of next Monday’s post.
Six years ago, I posted an article about scientific names for plants. As I pointed out, scientific names are essential because there are often a multitude of common names for a single species, or the same common name for a multitude of species. Using the genus species clarifies exactly which plant you’re discussing.Continue reading “Clearing Up Plant Names”
After last week’s post about “Lost Birds,” I shouldn’t be surprised this week when a bird typically found in the old growth forests along the coast from northern California to Alaska was spotted in a playground at a county park out on the eastern plains of Colorado. Talk about lost!Continue reading “A Vagabond Varied Thrush”