Sunday, January 29, 2012
It was during my nine mile half marathon training run. As we ran up Libbie, a tiny splash of color in the strip of grass between the sidewalk and street caught my eye. I stopped and bent over to look at it. Yep, it was single frail little crocus, a light purple color, in bloom by the road. A crocus? On January 28? Way too early, even for here. But it is a sign that spring, which usually starts here in late February, is coming.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Let's eliminate the entire plant kingdom and more than a million animal species right off the bat. I have feathers.
Unlike many of you humans (and most of my feathered friends), I mate for life.
As an adult, I weigh about 7 to 10 pounds (3.2 to 4.5 kg).
I nest in colonies, way up in northern Greenland, Canada, and Alaska - above the timber line.
For the winter, I migrate thousands of miles - with no map or GPS or compass - to areas where I can survive and get enough to eat (including Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia, USA).
I am usually white as snow with black wingtips, although I have a bluish color phase as well.
One of my close relatives is named after a very large North American country.
I fear eagles but little else as an adult, other than you humans that hunt me. But my chicks lead a perilous life to reach adulthood. Arctic foxes and skuas are deadly enemies of my young.
You might confuse me with a similar large migratory bird that is also white, but this species has a longer neck.
OK, enough clues - time to guess. Scroll down....
I am a snow goose!
On my hike last weekend, I came across a marsh with several hundred snow geese (and some Canada geese and ducks). Several hundred more arrived while I was there. The sight and wild sound of so many creatures so close was amazing!
Saturday, January 14, 2012
As my name implies, I have no hair.
But on the other hand, that is kind of a misleading clue, because nothing that is related to me has hair. Only mammals do, and I am no mammal.
But on the other hand, it is a great clue, because now you have part of my name, or should.
No, I am not an eagle or even a bird.
I don't eat things. In fact, I use the amazing chemical process of photosynthesis to make food.
I have no feet, I have no legs, but I do have knees.
I have needles, but I don't sew.
My wood is amazingly resistant to rot if you humans make something out of it.
You would be miserable standing around in swamp water all day, but I love it.
In the summer, you might think that I am a kind of pine tree, with my evergreen look. But evergreen is fleeting. This time of year, I am naked as an oak.
Figure it out?
I am a bald cypress:
Bald cypress knees:
Friday, January 13, 2012
It was a cool and very windy day. I did not see much wildlife during the first part of my hike, which started about 4PM and ended just after sunset. But later, the bobcat and some other spectacular wildlife sightings more than made up for that. I will write about some of those later, but here are a couple of photos of the sky today over the marsh and Back Bay: