Karen’s Find

I’m still turning to nature for comfort and distraction this week, and so are a lot of my friends. Karen from Massachusetts sent me this photo, which she took on the banks of a pond, right next to something that looked like a beaver lodge. We did a little online research and our guess: beaver scat!

Why take a photo of beaver scat? For one thing, it helped us to identify the scat back at home, using field guides and online animal tracking websites. For another, it helps us keep track of our animal neighbors, which is something I’ve been doing for a long time. In case you missed it, here’s a video explaining the idea. Feel free to share it with your friends and families who are safe-at-home and looking for something new to do.

Big Night

I’ve been watching wood frogs at a local-to-me vernal pool for more than a week now, hearing the males “quack” and watching the females arrive, observing amplexus (male frogs mounted on top of egg-laying females, fertilizing said eggs), counting egg masses. But I wasn’t seeing any signs of the other amphibian species that usually return here in the spring: spotted salamanders or spring peepers. All that changed last night.

It started raining at about 6pm, and continued most of the night. Temperatures hovered around 45 throughout. At 9pm, I recruited a few accommodating family members, hiked over to the pond, and steeped smack into the biggest Big Night of our lives.

We saw at least a dozen spotted salamanders wiggle-walking toward the pond, or already in it.

We heard (but didn’t see) our first peepers of the season.

We even observed wood frogs leaving the pool, hopping back to the woods.

Sometimes the world feels overwhelming in really hard ways, and sometimes it feels overwhelming in really good ways. The trick, I remembered last night, is to keep our eyes open for both.

Happy exploring, friends. xo

Postscript: If you need a little background on Big Night, here’s an essay I wrote about it for Yankee magazine last spring.

Amy’s Find

Here’s another great Flora & Fauna find, this one from Amy in Massachusetts. These are wood frogs in the frenzy of spring mating season. What a photo! Thanks so much for letting me share it, Amy. 🐸

Keep getting outside, friends, as you’re able. Breathe some fresh air, soak up some sunshine, or some rain, or some snow, and let nature do its thing for you. If you find something you’d like to share, I’d love to see it.

Waiting

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© Loree Griffin Burns

My daughter and I found this lovely fellow in the garage this morning, as we headed out to survey ladybugs at our local Audubon sanctuary. While we traipsed through woods and meadows, sweeping for ladybugs and bumping into all manner of other cool creatures (several tiger swallowtails, a red-tailed hawk pestering a squirrel ’round a red maple tree, a wood frog, and far too many ticks), the moth slept.

We drove out to the farm for seedlings and milk, stopped for lunch, came home, cleaned up; the moth slept.

He’s out there now, sleeping, waiting on dusk I suppose.

I’m enchanted, and waiting, too.