All posts filed under: Naturalist Voice

The Robin Welcome Wagon

Two years ago, a pair of American Robins built a nest on top of the electric meter box near our front door. (See this post: The Endless Quest for Food.) Yesterday, a pair of robins were checking out the same location, but almost immediately afterward, a magpie landed on the meter. This seemed to dampen the enthusiasm of the robins. They haven’t returned. The Car Guy and I remembered, though, that the previous robins had a great deal of difficulty building a nest on the narrow, smooth surface of the box. It seemed to us that it might be a good idea to mount a platform on top of the box that would make it easier for the robins to anchor their nest. This is what The Car Guy came up with. Just to make it very clear to the magpie that this was for the robins, The Car Guy added the name of the intended occupants. A wall, an electrical meter box, the robin platform – do you see anything else in this photo? …

Right Place, Right Time

Every now and then (but not if I’m in a line-up at the store) I’m in the Right Place at the Right Time! Here are three photos to illustrate what I mean. In 2011, I wrote a post titled Lady’s Slipper Orchids – Surprise in the Ditch. At that time, the orchids were growing in a ditch – about a 5 minute walk from us. Not a great distance, but they were easy to overlook in the tall weeds and their blooming season was short. I only saw them once again after that. A few days ago, I was very surprised to find the pretty yellow orchids again growing in the ditch –  but this time right at the end of our driveway! It would have been easy to miss their yellow flowers, surrounded as they were by clumps of yellow dandelions. But, they must have whispered to me… “It’s your lucky day – we’re your  neighbours now!” I’m a Canadian ‘Snowbird’ who spends part of the winter in the USA. Last winter I went …

Springtime Blooms – Arizona and Alberta

My Place in the World is in the Garden with my camera! The best part about living part time in Arizona is that I get to experience spring twice! In April, when Alberta might still be experiencing snow storms, our Arizona home is at the height of spring blooming! We have a large old Ironwood tree on our property. It is estimated that these trees can live for hundreds and hundreds of years. It sheds its leaves annually just before it blooms. The flowers are pea like (because it is a member of that family) and the entire tree becomes a dusky pink colour during full bloom. The Ironwood often serves as a backdrop to the giant Saguaro cactus. The Saguaro can live for 150 to 200 years and it can grow 40 to 60 ft tall (12 to 18 meters). It is very slow growing and can be decades old before it sprouts arms or blooms. The Prickly Pear cactus is the ‘rat’ of the neighbourhood for the simple reason that the resident rodents …

A Line Up of Sunrises

We have a roof top patio in Arizona – a perfect place for watching sunrises, sunsets, and star gazing. The science behind contrails is fascinating. Contrails should never be a cause for alarm; after all, folks don’t flip out on chilly days when their breath forms a cloud. If it’s cold enough and the air is still, you might even notice a cloud hanging behind you for several meters. – What really comes out of an airplane? Contrails, not chemtrails, The Washington Post – Are you on a flight path? Are the planes loud and noisy, or so high you don’t even notice them? These photos, altered with filters, are at my other blog, Almost Artistic. This week’s WordPress.com photo Challenge is Lines.

Recipe for a Dramatic Sunrise or Sunset

Are the sunrises and sunsets in your part of the world ho-hum? If they are, then you could follow this recipe to make them spectacular! – start with clean air, preferably in the fall or winter season. (You might have to travel somewhere to find these conditions.) – marvel at the blue of the daytime sky, which is caused by the selective scattering of sunlight by air molecules. This scattering favours the shorter wavelengths of violet to blue. – consider the much longer path through the atmosphere that sunlight has to travel in the morning and evening. It scatters more violet and blue, which creates the opportunity for reds and oranges to reach our eyes. – finally, add some clouds to catch the red-orange rays and reflect this light to the ground. It wasn’t until I investigated the science of the colour of sunrises that I realized that not everyone gets to see such a thing regularly! Now I know how fortunate I am to live in two parts of the world where this frequently …