Tracking in the Mud

All things children and nature

Neighborhood Nature Notes–September 2010 September 11, 2010

Filed under: Autumn,Neighborhood Nature Notes,Seasons — Sandy Beverly @ 9:46 pm
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This is a log of nature observations for our neighborhood south of West Junior High.  Want to share your observations?  See below.  Or start your own nature notebook at home.  Find earlier Nature Notes by looking under “Categories” to the right.

September 2010

  • Sept 10–Saw a bat on my evening walk.   Guess they are still around and active.
  • Sept 9–A few black walnuts have fallen.  (Smell these fragrant green seeds!  But ones that have cracked open can stain your skin and clothes.  Walnut “husks” make a fine natural brown dye.)
  • Sept 8–A few lone fireflies here and there.  I think these are the ones who haven’t found a mate…
  • Sept 7–Still hearing soft night-time bug sounds, but cicadas seem to be gone.
  • Sept 3–Neighborhood owls have been noisy.  Great horned owls and especially barred owls.

Want to share your observations?  Add a comment or e-mail me (sgbeverly@gmail.com) and I will add to the log.  Send first name, age (if you’d like), observation, and your location in relation to a public school.

Or, start your own nature notebook at home, with your family.  Sometimes hard to keep at it, but lots of fun to look back at previous years to see if events are happening earlier or later.  We got a big kick out of observing our first-of-year bat on the same day two years in a row.

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Neighborhood Nature Notes–June June 1, 2010

Filed under: Neighborhood Nature Notes,Seasons,Summer — Sandy Beverly @ 8:12 am
Tags: , , ,

This is a log of nature observations for our neighborhood south of West Junior High.  Want to share your observations?  See below.  Or start your own nature notebook at home.  Earlier Nature Notes are posted here.

June 2010

  • Summer Solstice–Mimosa trees are blooming.  Very fragrant, but invasive.
  • June 13–Heard first-of-year cicada call
  • June 7–First chigger bite, sigh….
  • June 1–Daylilies are blooming.  The flowers are edible.  Go on, taste one!
  • June 1–Young hawks have left the nest on Orchards Golf Course
  • June 1–3 young blue jays exploring our yard.  They fly pretty well, but an adult is still supervising
  • June 1–Catalpas have been blooming for a few days.  I call this “the tree of Big”: big flower clusters, big heart-shaped leaves, big seed pods

Want to share your observations?  Add a comment or e-mail me (sgbeverly@gmail.com) and I will add to the log.  Send first name, age (if you’d like), observation, and your location in relation to a public school.

Or, start your own nature notebook at home, with your family.  Sometimes hard to keep at it, but lots of fun to look back at previous years to see if events are happening earlier or later.  We got a big kick out of observing our first-of-year bat on the same day two years in a row.

 

Neighborhood Nature Notes: May May 5, 2010

Filed under: Neighborhood Nature Notes,Seasons,Spring — Sandy Beverly @ 1:35 pm

This is a log of nature observations for our neighborhood south of West Junior High.  Want to share your observations?  See below.  Or start your own nature notebook at home.  Earlier Nature Notes are posted here.

May 2010

  • May 26–3 young hawks are still in the nesting tree, but one has moved to a branch a foot or so above the nest.
  • May 26–Purple finches in the neighborhood.
  • May 26–Some mulberries are ripe (and tasty)!
  • May 25–Grackle fusses persistently at neighbor’s cat.  Probably young grackles close by.
  • May 23–Spotted a redtail hawk’s nest on Orchards Golf Course.  Binoculars show 3 large young birds with giant eyes.  Read this about ID’ing juvenile birds.
  • May 22–A broken robin’s egg on the sidewalk.  A different nest has unhatched robin’s eggs.
  • May 10–Baltimore Oriole in our Sycamore tree.  First one I’ve seen here in a few years.
  • May 7–Sycamore trees are dropping seeds, too.
  • May 5–Cottonwood trees are dropping their white fuzzy seeds.  Max calls this “snow”.
  • May 5–Mulberry trees are setting their fruit.  In June, these messy purple berries will make a tasty treat for birds and people.  (Note: Taste varies from tree to tree.  If you’ve had a bad-tasting berry, try again from a different  tree.  And read this short blog.)
  • May 5–The little blue herons have definitely returned to their regular nesting site.  Why do they nest in our so-suburban neighborhood?
  • May 2–Honeysuckle shrubs are blooming, releasing their sweet-smelling fragrance.  Take a walk at night and see if you can tell when you pass one.  (Honeysuckles are a problem plant, but the nectar smells and tastes sweet.)

Want to share your observations?  Add a comment or e-mail me (sgbeverly@gmail.com) and I will add to the log.  Send first name, age (if you’d like), observation, and your location in relation to a public school.

Or, start your own nature notebook at home, with your family.  Sometimes hard to keep at it, but lots of fun to look back at previous years to see if events are happening earlier or later.  We got a big kick out of observing our first-of-year bat on the same day two years in a row.

 

Neighborhood Coyote April 6, 2010

Filed under: Neighborhood Nature Notes — Sandy Beverly @ 9:24 pm
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For my outdoor wanderings, I almost always go to a natural area near my home in central west Lawrence.  It’s not the nicest of areas; there’s litter, and the woods is full of invasive honeysuckle (which really changes the character of a forest).  But I can walk there, which means that whatever I observe and experience teaches me something about my neighborhood.

Lately, I’ve been heading in that direction even when I’m going out for a stress-relieving power walk.  Who knows what I might learn, even when my mind is a million miles away?  And tonight, under a yellow, rumbling sky, I spotted a coyote.  I didn’t get a great view, but it was enough.  Enough to know that it was a coyote, enough to make my day, enough to keep me coming back.

So I will go to bed tonight knowing, firsthand, that this coyote and I share a territory.  Doesn’t that make the world a better place?

 

Neighborhood Nature Notes–April April 4, 2010

Filed under: Neighborhood Nature Notes,Seasons,Spring — Sandy Beverly @ 9:16 pm
Tags: , , ,

This is a log of nature observations for my neighborhood south of West Junior High.  Want to share your observations?  See below.  Or start your own nature notebook at home.  Earlier Nature Notes are posted here.

April 2010

  • April 30–Spotted a heron in our neighborhood.  Looks like this will be the 3rd year for them to nest here.
  • April 30–Black locust trees are full of blossoms.  Stand under one and smell the sweetness!
  • April 26–Yards, sidewalks, and streets are filled with the “helicopter” seeds of maple trees, alsa called “keys” and “samaras”.  Flowers from oak trees also abound.
  • April 15–About an hour after sunset, one lone firefly is flashing
  • April 12–White redbuds are blooming.  Lilacs are close.  Spotted some poison ivy, sigh….
  • April 10–Max is seeing lots of “snow butterflies”, actually spring azures.  This is a sign of spring.
  • April 8–Heard first-of-year thrasher in the neighborhood.  Their songs come in pairs.  Listen here.
  • April 6–For the first time ever, heard a frog in our neighborhood.  At sunset, after an evening of rain.  I think it was a western chorus frog.
  • April 5–Our first real spring thunderstorm?  Occurs soon after dawn.  A couple cardinals keep singing through the storm.
  • April 4–Redbuds are budding.  Elm tree seeds are dangling.   (See elm tree seeds and other tree seeds and flowers in this blog about neighborhood nature in Chicago.)
  • April 4–Kevin spots butterflies in our backyard!
  • April 2–Forsythia and vinca are in full bloom; the invasive Japanese honeysuckle is leafing out.
  • April 1–Turkey vultures have been back for several days.  Watch for them soaring, with wings in a V-shape.   Some birders say it’s not spring until the vultures return.

Want to share your observations?  Add a comment or e-mail me (sgbeverly@gmail.com) and I will add to the log.  Send first name, age (if you’d like), observation, and your location in relation to a public school.

Or, start your own nature notebook at home, with your family.  Sometimes hard to keep at it, but lots of fun to look back at previous years to see if events are happening earlier or later.  We got a big kick out of observing our first-of-year bat on the same day two years in a row.

 

Neighborhood Nature Notes: Feb-May March 8, 2010

Filed under: Neighborhood Nature Notes,Seasons,Spring — Sandy Beverly @ 2:53 am
Tags: , , ,

This is a log of nature observations for my neighborhood south of West Junior High.  Want to share your observations?  See below.  Or start your own nature notebook at home.

May 2010

  • May 26–3 young hawks are still in the nesting tree, but one has moved to a branch a foot or so above the nest.
  • May 26–Purple finches in the neighborhood.
  • May 26–Some mulberries are ripe (and tasty)!
  • May 25–Grackle fusses persistently at neighbor’s cat.  Probably young grackles close by.
  • May 23–Spotted a redtail hawk’s nest on Orchards Golf Course.  Binoculars show 3 large young birds with giant eyes.  Read this about ID’ing juvenile birds.
  • May 22–A broken robin’s egg on the sidewalk.  A different nest has unhatched robin’s eggs.
  • May 10–Baltimore Oriole in our Sycamore tree.  First one I’ve seen here in a few years.
  • May 7–Sycamore trees are dropping seeds, too.
  • May 5–Cottonwood trees are dropping their white fuzzy seeds.  Max calls this “snow”.
  • May 5–Mulberry trees are setting their fruit.  In June, these messy purple berries will make a tasty treat for birds and people.  (Note: Taste varies from tree to tree.  If you’ve had a bad-tasting berry, try again from a different  tree.  And read this short blog.)
  • May 5–The little blue herons have definitely returned to their regular nesting site.  Why do they nest in our so-suburban neighborhood?
  • May 2–Honeysuckle shrubs are blooming, releasing their sweet-smelling fragrance.  Take a walk at night and see if you can tell when you pass one.  (Honeysuckles are a problem plant, but the nectar smells and tastes sweet.)

April 2010

  • April 30–Spotted a heron in our neighborhood.  Looks like this will be the 3rd year for them to nest here.
  • April 30–Black locust trees are full of blossoms.  Stand under one and smell the sweetness!
  • April 26–Yards, sidewalks, and streets are filled with the “helicopter” seeds of maple trees, alsa called “keys” and “samaras”.  Flowers from oak trees also abound.
  • April 15–About an hour after sunset, one lone firefly is flashing
  • April 12–White redbuds are blooming.  Lilacs are close.  Spotted some poison ivy, sigh….
  • April 10–Max is seeing lots of “snow butterflies”, actually spring azures.  This is a sign of spring.
  • April 8–Heard first-of-year thrasher in the neighborhood.  Their songs come in pairs.  Listen here.
  • April 6–For the first time ever, heard a frog in our neighborhood.  At sunset, after an evening of rain.  I think it was a western chorus frog.
  • April 5–Our first real spring thunderstorm?  Occurs soon after dawn.  A couple cardinals keep singing through the storm.
  • April 4–Redbuds are budding.  Elm tree seeds are dangling.   (See elm tree seeds and other tree seeds and flowers in this blog about neighborhood nature in Chicago.)
  • April 4–Kevin spots butterflies in our backyard!
  • April 2–Forsythia and vinca are in full bloom; the invasive Japanese honeysuckle is leafing out.
  • April 1–Turkey vultures have been back for several days.  Watch for them soaring, with wings in a V-shape.   Some birders say it’s not spring until the vultures return.

March 2010

  • March 30–Forsythias are budding yellow
  • Mar 13–Grackles have returned!           As spring progresses, watch for lots of male grackles chasing a single female from tree to tree
  • Mar 12–Sandy thinks she hears a catbird mew
  • Mar 12–Some vinca is blooming, and daffodils are budding
  • Mar 7–Max spots a bumble bee and earthworms
  • Mar 7–Kevin finds crocuses blooming under our dogwood trees
  • Mar 6–Kevin spots a bat flying, around sunset
  • Mar 5–Sandy sees gnat-like bugs flying about
  • About Mar 4–David spots a red fox running through his backyard, daytime
  • Early Mar–Sandy hears lots of bird sounds, including blue jays, crows, robins, cardinals, flickers, red bellied woodpeckers, juncos, tufted titmice, chickadees
  • Early Mar–Sandy hears, then sees, hundreds of snow geese flying overhead.  Looks like they’re heading for a stopover on Clinton Lake on their way north.

February 2010

  • Feb 10–Sandy hears a fox barking, around 9 p.m.             Sounds like this
  • Jan and Feb–After multiple snows, Sandy sees alleged fox tracks in her yard and the yards of neighbors              Fox tracks in the snow may look like this

Want to share your observations?  Add a comment or e-mail me (sgbeverly@gmail.com) and I will add to the log.  Send first name, age (if you’d like), observation, and your location in relation to a public school.

Or, start your own nature notebook at home, with your family.  Sometimes hard to keep at it, but lots of fun to look back at previous years to see if events are happening earlier or later.  We got a big kick out of observing our first-of-year bat on the same day two years in a row.