Today in nature I saw

Looks like a hemiptera nymph, maybe a squash/dock bug (Coreus marginatus).

Yep, that certainly looks like the fella. Thank you very much!


The dogs found me a Southern watersnake on the driveway today. Here he is, minus a little chunk. I took the dogs in the house and the snake left. I hope he’s okay.


Last year was, as I noted here, a hell of a year for buzzards round these parts (SE England). The numbers were way up.

This year the standout birds (in terms of numbers) have been goldfinches and geese. Goldfinches are a bugger to photograph, so here’s a wiki page instead.

Geese, on the other hand, are much easier to photograph. There were enormous numbers of them today in Petworth Park, gathered beside the not-very-big lake.

Google Photos

Google Photos


We kayaked Crooked Creek, from the Allegheny River upstream until we ran out of water. Along the way we saw carp spawning in some shallows, a little green heron, many kingfishers, a female wood duck, three great blue herons, a brief glimpse of a sunning turtle, and a red tailed Hawk.

It was a beautiful day, but maybe the heat kept people off the water. We saw very few boaters out there.

There’s a hurricane on my southern horizon; I hope everyone stays safe. The (one) nice thing is that the outer band clouds make for some spectacular sunrises.

Sitting on the porch last night around 10 pm, my gf heard an owl hooting. We set aside our wine and walked toward the barn, the direction she thought the calls were coming from. From the big white pine next to the barn, a huge bird flew.

It was a great horned owl. Later today I’m going to look around the base of the tree for pellets.`

I love seeing owls. A few years ago, we had some living on the property but now I haven’t seen them for a while.

I’ve worked with owls hands-on at various rescues over the years, but I’m pretty sure this was the first owl I’ve seen in the wild.

Today in our local park we were taking a stroll. Making out way along a path which runs alongside the stream. And you know what? I had the strangest feeling I was being watched…

Google Photos

As dusk fell we found ourselves not far from the park and watched a heron flying off to roost. Might have been the same one.


You know what, that typo (“out” for “our”) has an unexpected effect on the meaning of that post.

Hey ho.


I love seeing herons from a kayak. They’re usually pretty tolerant of me, then when they fly off they tend to go fifty yards or so then land again. There size makes them easy to follow.

Not seeing, but hearing. This last weekend, waking up at 2 a.m. and hearing the loons calling to each other. So beautiful.

Not seeing, not hearing, but being attacked by…

So I was out foraging, as I do at this time of year. I had cycled to Hedgecourt Lake (from where I reported seeing an osprey, back in the spring). It’s a very pleasant place (click for uncropped photo).

Google Photos

As I was foraging away, a family of swans stopped by. There are actually three cygnets - the third is just visible close to the bank, having ducked it’s head down just as I snapped the photo.

Google Photos

I was just thinking that mamma and papa had done a pretty good job of parenting if they still had three sturdy looking offspring in September, when one of the adults and one of the cygnets lumbered out of the water and stomped over to me. Hissing, and having pulled themselves up to their full height - which is a lot.

I’ll shoo them away, I thought, and swung my foraging bag within a few inches of junior’s face. I swear he didn’t even blink. Somebody was going to have to back down. It was me. Come of, man, there were five of them - they drove me off. I waited about twenty yards away, and after a while they just seemed to lose interest, got back into the water and paddled off.

Strange encounter.


Oh, not at all. Mute Swans are assholes :slight_smile:.

Squawk loudly and carry a big beak?

Hiss loudly and carry huge wings AND a big beak :laughing:. They really aren’t afraid of much - nothing really regularly predates healthy adults. Even eagle attacks are pretty rare. And they’re territorial as hell.

I appreciate them and I’ve never had a negative interaction with one myself, but I sure have seen other people (and dogs) have to beat a hasty retreat. It might have been a discussion here or some other board when someone suggested introducing mute swans to control Canada geese infestations and I was like oh, hell no - the cure is as bad as the disease.

Owls…and Herons?

When I used to live in Shoreline, WA there was a fairly large park nearby, with Shoreline Community College on one side, and a neighborhood on the other. The park itself is heavily wooded, dark, and with some surprising elevation changes within a short distance. Once while hiking around in there, during the day, I heard the “Who cooks for you?!” call of a Barred Owl.

I had recently gone on an evening “Owl Prowl” guided nature walk down in Seward Park (a small peninsula that juts into Lake Washington) and we heard / saw / saw signs of various types of owls that lived there. So…at least I recognized the call when I heard it. Never actually saw the owl in the Shoreline Park, tho.

There is a Heron, might be a great blue, that fishes at the creek / ditch that runs around the nearby farms on its way to the Wabash River. I don’t like to scare it off, but sometimes see it while driving over the creek on a bridge. It’s usually in the same spot, looking for fish. If you step out of the car it definitely will fly off.

A pileated woodpecker, and a bunny. Also a slow squirrel. (Too slow to get out of the way of a car.)

Last week near Portland OR, I saw a large bird of prey (hawk, vulture, I dunno) sailing along, then a little bird, flapping like mad out of nowhere, come much too close to the big one. I thought the little guy was about to be lunch. Then suddenly, the small bird entrained behind the large one, spread out its wings and they both started sailing in formation, the little one mimicking every turn and whirl of the big one. I suppose they must have been mama and child. I’d no idea birds taught their kids to soar; it was quite amazing.