Saturday, April 27, 2013


These Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies were caught in my vegetable bed massing together.

Curious as to the behavior, I discovered the males of the species congregate to extract ions and amino acids from the damp soil, which aids in reproduction.

The behavior is called 'puddling,' which is sort of a puddle party or butterfly bachelor party.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Thank You Earth

“I turned to the teeming small creatures that can be held between the thumb and forefinger: the little things that compose the foundation of our ecosystems, the little things, as I like to say, who run the world.” 

~ E. O. Wilson 


What would we be without the little things? 

Thank you. Thank you Earth for the little things.

Earth Day, 2013

Saturday, April 13, 2013

How many turtles?

After being scared off from an area of a pond, I followed this Blue Heron to where he landed. I quietly watched for awhile and, after awhile, I realized it was not a log in front of him but a line of turtles basking in the sun.

Amazed by the number and sensing there'd be more, I scanned the water behind him and found another line.

Here's a full view of the area that includes the turtles behind the Blue Heron, the turtles in front of him and more in the foreground.

How many turtles do you see?

I observed at least seventy that day.

They are Yellow-bellied sliders and the most common turtle found in the Southeastern United States.

I learned they need to bask in the sun so the bottom of the shell (the plastron) can dry reducing the chances of shell rot. At night, the turtles return to the water to sleep.

So the wise old turtle is both aquatic and terrestrial needing both the land and the water to survive.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Light pollution

Although a stunning image of the artifical lights created by humans to light the night, all of the light streaming off into space blinds our view of the stars. But, it does more than that.

Turning night into day is having adverse effects on many species on Earth - mammals, birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians, plants and even us. For billions of years, the dark of night has been ingrained into the DNA of species regulating hunting, mating, sleeping and eating. Our light pollution is interfering with these basic functions, which will result in many more endangered species.

One well known insect of the night, the firefly or lightening bug, is in decline and it's suspected that light pollution is the cause. The insect uses bio-luminescence to attract mates but because of  night lights simulating daylight they become disoriented.

There's a citizen science project that you can take part in, that's happening right now, to help scientists assess the extent and impact of light pollution. It's simple and fun and something the whole family can do.

GLOBE at Night asks you to measure the brightness of your night sky and submit your observations on line. You can report now until April 9 or April 29 - May 8.

I'll be submitting my report tonight.

I want to help fellow species and I'd like to to continue to view the magnificence of the starry night.