Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Nature Blogging and Twitter

On November 4, I'm making a presentation to the New River Valley Bird Club about nature journals and blogs. Now, I have to think about why I do this. Here are some of my notes:

Why I Blog

I've kept a paper journal for many years but only started blogging two years ago. I'm surprised I'm still doing it but it must be good.

  • I learn something new every time I get on to check my blogroll. Example: post on sandhill cranes.
  • Part of Worldwide Blog Community of Nature Watchers. Each blog is unique, reflecting each person's interests--some informative, lovely, funny, etc.
  • Makes where I live seem special when others are interested.
  • Can post my photos, text, and videos (see below):
  • Collaboration: An artist took this photo from one of my blog posts and made a painting. She sent me a print.

  • time-consuming sometimes leading to lack of focus (must be disciplined to use)
  • interesting posts keep you online and out of nature!
  • weight gain!

Why I Tweet (Sometimes)

I tweeted for the first time a year ago when a fellow nature blogger and myself tweeted back and forth. I couldn't understand any good use for Twitter then. A few months ago, I gave it another try when I noticed some of my favorite bloggers were online tweeting away (Kerri and Dawn). This is what I perceive as the major advantages:
  • Real-time links to relevant posts, images, and other articles.
  • Quick IDs (versus blogs which can take several days).
  • Smart phones allow immediate transfer of data/text from the field.

  • Same as above but maybe even more!

Facebook--I don't use for nature blogging, more of a personal/family connection.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Rat Snake in my Shed and Shaggy Mane Mushroom

I put up my bird feeders in my garden shed to keep the night critters away. I had to put the feeders in a container to keep a mouse out but I knew he was still in there, probably to keep out of the cold. Much to my surprise, the mouse met his demise....

Black Rat Snake October 19, 2009

This snake is fairly small, not more than a foot but he was able to swallow the mouse--look at the big hump! At first, I wasn't sure of the ID. The field guide said that Black Rat Snakes have the coloration of gray rat snakes (not usually in this area) when they are young so that explains that he is not black.

Close-up of the Black Rat Snake

Shaggy Mane Mushroom October 13, 2009

Our driveway is full of these mushrooms, usually in September but they came up in October. This one, probably several days old, shows how it got its name.

I photographed this zinnia the day before a freeze which killed all my zinnias and cosmos last week. I planted these flowers from a few seed packets and got lots of flowers, enjoyed by bees and butterflies alike. They are a cheap way to help the bees!

Bee Update: I had to start feeding the bees since there is so little forage for them and I wasn't sure of their winter stores of honey (since I swiped a little from them). I did notice them bringing in pollen--there's till some asters. I even saw some bees on my pansies and mums.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fall Colors in Appalachia

Dogwood Leaves

Having traveled to the Northeast and seen the brilliant colors of the Northeast states, it has taken me awhile to appreciate the more subtle colors of my fall woods. The dogwoods are the first to change color--maroon but like all the trees, each tree varies. Some are still green or others, like the photo above are in the process.

The Sugar and Red Maples are the main color in the woods with the tulip poplars already shedding most of their leaves.

Red Maple Leaves

Sourwood Leaves

Around our house, I enjoy the red and orange colors of the Sourwood. The trees keep the bright red for a couple of weeks. The American Goldfinches are enjoying eating the seeds.

Spice Bush Berries

These berries stay on for most of the winter while the dogwood berries are being eaten quickly--yesterday by a flock of Cedar Waxwings.