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2019 Naturalist Highlights

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2019 Survey Results

I set out to survey the flowering plants of my recently-purchased land, which almost immediately expanded to an informal general life survey. I used the incredible tool iNaturalist to track observations. My iNat project is "A Land Like This One". Thank you to Nathaniel for his contributions and company.

This data was collected over approximately 20 visits from March through December, averaging perhaps 3 hours of active search/exploration time per visit. At the time of writing this...
653 observations351 research grade* observations238 taxa140 research grade species95 research grade plant species80 research grade flowering plant species The numbers are strongly skewed by sampling bias and my areas of interest/knowledge:
I am most familiar with herbaceous flowering plants. (63% of flowering plant observations are research-grade vs 33% of insects and 7% of fungi)I know little of protozoans, grasses, non-vascular plants, and birds and largely ignored them. I visited mos…

The Many Forms of Freeze

The Season of Looking Closely

Brook Song in November

Thanks to Nathaniel for taking this video while hunting on my land in November

Seeking Rocks and Minerals with Tommy: Oct 26

My dearest Tommy and his brother Morris visited all the way from Texas to see my land and investigate the rocks and minerals. Despite some unfortunate car trouble, we eventually made it to the brook where Tommy gamely plunged into the frigid water in search of treasures.

This tough little Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) was out and about, despite the cold.

Sadly, not a single thing was still blooming, but I was happy to find Winterberry (Ilex sp.) in fruit by the brook. It is an important winter food for birds.

My trail cam had also caught a few treasures over the previous month. The great blue heron is still visiting, as is a Hawk (Accipiter sp.) we have not been able to identify. I caught a Raccoon (Procyon lotor) and a Barred Owl (Strix varia) on camera for the first time!

Signs of Autumn

I spent a wonderful weekend outdoors enjoying the autumn weather and appreciating the changes it brings. Between camping at Pillsbury State Park and a brief visit to my land, I saw a lot of wonderful things. There's so much to share!

What's in flower?

The star attraction of a quick trip to my land this weekend was the first sighting of Bottle Gentians (Gentiana clausa)!
These flowers are interesting in that they never open. They are pollinated by insects that force their way inside.

Another exciting find at Pillsbury was Nodding Ladies'-Tresses (Spiranthes cernua). There are a number of Ladies'-Tresses species in New England, but this is the only one I've found so far:

They are small, subtle, and easily overlooked. But I find their delicate, almost transparent flowers beautiful. And I was lucky enough to see ~150 of them in a grassy, open area along a woodland path!

There are, of course, a great many aster species blooming this time of year. I am not yet at all good…