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Bat Scat

As a naturalist, I spend a lot more time poking around in other creatures’ excrement (also known as scat) than most people. I love finding clues to the animal’s identity and diet, like the fish scales and bones in an otter’s scat, or how when the pawpaws are ripe, suddenly every pile of fox poop…

Luna and the Mirror

Recently I moved to a new place to live, that’s less expensive and closer to work. Yay! Luna is still getting used to it, but she’s doing pretty well. Our morning and evening routine consists of her squeaking at me until I gather up several of her toys, and then I toss each one high…

Three Legs

Recently I had an unplanned shift at the fee booth, to fill in for an absent coworker. This meant I didn’t get to spend as much time walking around and interacting with visitors as I had expected. But I’m not complaining, because I did end up having a really cool encounter with an insect I…

Starting Again, Again

So it’s time again for my recurring attempt to relaunch this blog. I do this at least once nearly every year. Often I try in November, to piggyback on Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month), so I can utilize some of the tools and camaraderie of that program. I also sometimes get reinspired after a vacation,…

Blogtober- Foul Odor

I usually think of flowers as lovely, sweet-smelling decorations. They’re actually plants’ reproductive organs, though, and some are distinctly weird. The fragrant, colorful ones like roses and asters attract bees and butterflies for pollination. However, other kinds of flowers are downright stinky, because they evolved to attract a whole different set of insects. Rather than…

Blogtober: poison

The idea of poison is really interesting among insects. Many plants have evolved toxins within their tissues, presumably because it reduces the amount of animals that eat them. But then several kinds of insects evolved not just tolerances, but preferences for these toxic plants. Insects like caterpillars (larval moths or butterflies) can build up those…

Blogtober: transformation

So I’m a couple days late on this post. I’ve been working on a post about transformation for several days now, but the particular interpretation i chose is still too big to handle quickly. I bit off more than I can chew for a quick daily post. So I’ll try a slightly different interpretation. Never…

Blogtober- Decay

It’s been a pretty good year for mushrooms. I’ve found bright red chanterelles, gooey inkcaps, and more. But the weirdest and maybe creepiest has been the globby fungus I found oozing dark amber liquid near the bottom of a tree. I think it’s Pseudoinonotus dryadaeus, also known as Oak Bracket. I don’t know whether the…

Blogtober: spiders

I have a sign in my apartment that says, “Keep calm, it’s just a spider.” I was torn about whether to buy it when I saw it. Of course I think that nobody needs to get upset at the sight of a spider. I am more than happy to be the spider catch-and-releaser. But on…

Blogtober: Owls

At my very first park job, one of the programs I most loved to lead was the Owl Prowl. That consisted of wandering down the trail, just after dark, with my participants and a red-masked flashlight (to prevent us from losing night vision) and a way to playback recordings. We usually have three main owl…

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