VULTURES are quite common in our area, but usually in more rural parts. Imagine, then, our surprise when we saw one feasting on a delicious dead animal on a lawn not six feet from the road in a quiet neighborhood just behind the school. We stopped to snap a picture but the bird got spooked and flew onto the roof. Then we saw the others - a total of four waiting in a tree for us to leave so they could finish their lunch. In flight turkey vultures and black vultures are easy to distinguish from one another - turkey vultures have white wing tips and white feathers along the back of their wings; black vultures have white only on their wing tips. Up close, the grey heads (not red) gave these away as black vultures. Beauty could not be seen in the eyes of this carload of beholders; however we did appreciate the cleanup work they were doing. I bet the homeowner did too.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
WHAT a treat to be taken fossil hunting by a friend's dad. The children had the best time digging around in the earth with old screwdrivers, and were delighted when they found impressions of plants and animals. Millions of years ago, this area in North Georgia was covered in swamp. Dead animals and plants fell into the water and were covered by many layers of mud, which eventually hardened into shale. In between these layers, hidden treasures wait to be discovered. We found brachiopods and crinoid stems. Crinoids are sea animals which resemble today's sea lilies. Brachiopods appear similar to today's bivalves such as clams, but researchers believe they are a distinctly separate group. Not quite as exciting as dinosaur bones, but almost.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Saturday, October 8, 2011
I love to look at shapes in nature. This one.. Indian Heliotrope or Turnsole (heliotropium indicum) I believe... doesn't it remind you of an octopus' tentacle?
Heart-shaped, bell-shaped, metaphor of form.
Is it symmetry or silhouette,
A reminder of shapes of the past,
Or simply individual expression of beauty?
Friday, September 23, 2011
THE children have discovered in our garden what they have dubbed "the coolest bug ever". It's a wheel bug. He caught our attention noisily flying around our back patio and we transferred him to a bug box with a magnifying lid to examine in closer detail. These creatures are often called "assassins of the insect world" thanks to their chosen method of feeding, which involves using their long beak to pierce soft-bodied insects like caterpillars with dissolving enzymes, then sucking out their insides. How charming. Sometimes the females even feed on the male after mating. The cannibalism was not a trait I shared in detail with the children, but we did observe that it moves very slowly and jerkily and has of course that huge and strange "bumpy hump" on its back. Big, clunky, and indeed pretty cool.