Today in nature I saw

We get them too. They are such cool birds.

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OMG, that looks like our pond!

You’re low on milk.

I live in coastal New Jersey and yesterday morning I saw a scrub pine (the last vegetation before the jetty and inlet) pretty well covered in Monarch butterflies.I gather they stopped there for the night and were basking before crossing the inlet on their way south.I felt a little bad as they were going to heading into the wind.

I went fly fishing today and saw and held a number of brown and rainbow trout.

Doggie alarms went off this morning due to a moose in our driveway. Male, big rack. His back was as high as my Toyota 4Runner. Same 4Runner that I reported upthread that had a bear break into it.

The doggie alarm was serious enough I wanted to see if it was another bear.

Its definitely fungus season round here- I’m terrible at fungus ID (and I wasn’t really planning on a walk, so I didn’t have a guide with me), but there were a cluster of biiiig white ones (almost a foot across, I’d say), brown bracket-type ones, wee purple ones and a load of earthballs (that one I do know).

Aside from that, despite it being ancient oak woodland, the woods were remarkably quiet. In about an hour and a half, I saw only a few birds and barely heard any more, plus two squirrels. And one slug.

I parsed that as you having heard the slug, and had a moment of thinking, “That must’ve been one giant flippin’ slug!”

Last night around 9:00 I saw Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. I’m no astronomer but there was an abundance of pretty lights in the sky that caught my attention. Apparently Mars will be at opposition tonight, so if you happen to be outdoors, look up!

Just now, sitting in my room at the Tomales Bay Resort (at Point Reyes), I caught a fleeting glimpse of a river otter by the edge of the pool. By the time I stood up and grabbed my camera it scurried away under the decking and was gone. I’ve seen many many sea otters in California, but this was the first river otter…a bucket list species for sure!

This week there’s been a herd (pod? pride?) of sea lions in a feeding frenzy off our beach. Quite exciting. The birds hang around for scraps, the seals patrol the perimeter. And an eagle watched from a nearby tree.

The dogs scared up a ruffed grouse this morning. The drumming of it’s wings scared me to death! They also chased a pileated woodpecker that must have been low to the ground on a rotted tree. He flew pretty close to the ground for a while as the dogs were in hot pursuit, then flew up into a tree. They’re pretty big when you see them that close.

On today’s ride, I saw a very young eastern box turtle trying to cross the road in front of the elementary school. Luckily, there were no cars, so I stopped and moved Tippy off the road in the direction he was headed. Good thing I did, too. He was only three or four inches long, and the curb where he was headed is a good eight inches tall.

^^Good job! The eastern box turtle’s numbers have dropped over the years. I used to see them all the time, now the species is threatened, a rarity to see in the wild.

Today, as I worked on my allotment/community garden, my forehead was brushed by a robin’s wing.

I’ve been turning over the soil prior to putting the allotment to bed for the winter. There are an awful lot of worms now, which I assume is down to my efforts to improve the soil. Except that there are now somewhat fewer, as my assistant followed me about the plot, snaffling them from almost under my feet. European robins are notorious for this sort of behaviour - they don’t have much fear of humans at all. Having a show put on for me took my mind off the hard graft. And his little miscalculation - not quite missing me as he flitted around - was a very pleasing moment.

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@Treppenwitz, I really think England must be the best place on earth. No doubt in my mind that it was a magic robin, and you were chosen for something. Oh! I know! He was probably trying to show you the key to the secret garden!

A snail had its meal rudely interrupted and was taken on a terrifying high-speed ride. (Video at 8x)

His friend the ant was frantic!

A good day. I saw an American Bittern pursue and attempt to catch what I’m about 99% sure was a small juvenile Sora. The only other possibility would be a Yellow Rail, which would be very unlikely in that area though not completely impossible (a tiny number overwinter in the SF Bay Area). By contrast soras are pretty common at that spot and I had already seen an adult earlier. Although I couldn’t get a great look at its head except the outline ( looking into the sun through dense reeds), the calls and that flashing white tail seem to cinch it.

Couldn’t quite see if the attack was successful, just saw and heard a little splash in the thick reeds. But it was pretty neat anyway. Seeing an American bittern (or a sora, really - I got great looks at the adult) is already a good day. They’re cryptic, skulky bastards. But seeing one tackle a non-standard prey item was particularly cool. Apparently it isn’t unknown, but it must not be seen often.He seemed to aggressively zero right in on the calls, ignoring Mallards ducks in the vicinity.

That was a hilarious description.

What on earth are they eating? Is that some kind of fungus among us?