I was visiting Shanghai. I found a plant that looks much like an English daisy, but is taller and the petal-structures are more like hair (thinner). This plant comes from the family Asteraceae which has species that can be found throughout the world except Antarctica. The stems are a little bit fuzzy.
This plant is called the Monsthera deliciousa, and climbs like a vine, but unlike many plants, it grows towards darkness! Interestingly enough the plant uses this technique to find a nearby tree. Since trees have shadows at the base of them, this plant seeks the shadow of that tree. Growing sturdy structures can be expensive for a plant, so instead the Monsthera deliciousa uses the structures of trees and grows up from there. The plant itself has a heart shape leaf with, what appears to be holes in the leaf. These holes are not caused from insects or bacteria, but occur naturally. Perhaps the holes make the plant look like it is being eaten so that predators will leave it alone. The Monsthera deliciousa also grows a fruit, but this fruit will be toxic until the green scales fall off, after which a pineapple-like fruit will appear. If the fruit is eaten before the green scales fall off, then it will induce massive and uncomfortable swelling to the unfortunate grazer. Before leaving this plant I learned that 80% of vines come from the tropics. I drew a picture of the leaf from the Monstherea deliciousa.
Here are the thumbnails drawn by my classmates for our sketching day at the Union Bay Natural Area. Each student had less than a minute to draw a small sketch in my journal and after they sketched they would pass it on to the next person. The idea was to get the general shape of the object seen.
This was found at the entrance to Ravenna Park from 20th. It has heart shaped leaves with rounded dentate ends. The leaves are fuzzy and transition from green to purple/maroon from the bottom to the top. There are small light purple flowers blooming that are hard to describe. They have a petal or two that seems to shelter the rest of the flower, and an entrance with two small lines on an upside-down heart shape petal. I have seen these around campus and at Center for Urban Horticulture. I found three full grown ones surrounded by grass and under a tree.
I found this tree, but it was difficult to try to identify it. The needles were only at the top of the tree and I could not see any cones on the ground. The bark is very grooved and I suspect it may be some kind of pine tree. I can tell that the needles are no longer than an inch or two. I included a picture of a cone, but I am not exactly sure if this cone goes to that tree. It was found at the base of the tree.
At the entrance to Ravenna Park I saw this miraculous spiderweb. The web is what you might consider a traditional web, very circular. I took a picture where you can start to see the spider and bits of the web, but it was difficult to get a picture of the web or for my camera to focus on the spider. The spider is in the middle of the web.
Dull Oregon Grape found at entrance to Ravenna Park. Some of the stalks had red leaves while others had green leaves. I believe these are two different plants, but I think they are both Dull Oregon Grape. The red leaves troubled me a bit, but after some research I learned that the Dull Oregon Grape's leaves will turn red in the winter, and I think that is what happened here. The leaves have pointed ridged sides, are opposite of each other and there are between 9-19 leaflets on each stalk.
Beautiful small white flowers near Ravenna Park. These flowers were less than three inches tall, if that. Found in a grassy area, about 5-10 bunches of daisies in that area. The leaves are very smooth and rounded. I see these small flowers everywhere!
I found an interesting tree along the road. It is very tall, at least taller than a three story house. Seems like maybe it could be a cedar, but I am not sure. I tried using my guidebook to identify it, but could not find it. It has very small cones and spiky scale-like leaves.
Small plant only about a foot tall under a thick shrub. It has purple flowers that have four petals and a lighter purple or whitish center, but the color change is gradual not distinct. The very center of the flower is yellow. The leaves are heart-shaped and dentated. The stems are fuzzy. While this plant was near several houses it did not seem taken care for or purposefully planted.
Big Leaf Maple that has light yellow flowers that are just starting to open. Its leaves are an interesting green-red color, and some of the leaves have a pink tint as well. All the leaves are star shaped or finger shaped in the sense that they have a center point, and distinct bone-like structures out from there giving the appearance of a hand or star. This tree was near a small pond.
Unknown plant found between blackberry bushes and small pond at center for Urban Horticulture. I was practicing my sketching abilities and included that in my pictures. This plant has a center point where several stems shoot out of, and at the end of each stem is a puff of small flower-like ends. When I saw this plant it was all brown and no green in sight. It is very dry, perhaps dead or dormant. The stalk has thorns on it. Off of the small flower-like structures are a few seeds (that have small hairs on them) still attached. I believe that the rest of the seeds flew off, and these were just leftover. The plant comes up to breast height. Around the plant is various brown and green grasses.
This day my Natural History class was practicing sketching, so instead of taking a picture I drew out this Canadian Goose.
Found the goose walking by a small pond. It is a overcast day with blue/gray clouds. Slight drizzles, but not frequent. Upon my arrival the goose (who was standing next to the pond) went into the pond; it seemed weary of my presence. The whole time I was observing the goose it never went farther than 9 feet from the shore. Every once in a while it would guzzle water into its mouth. The picture I drew is the goose in the water because I primarily saw it swimming. The pond itself is 50% surrounded by tall shrubs and trees and further out from there it is mostly grass. There are over 20 ducks in this pond, but they are on the opposite side and would have been harder to draw. I did not identify the ducks. No other goose was found in this area, but there was lots of goose poop on the ground so I assume they visit this location frequently. As soon as I left the goose returned to the shore to peck at the ground some more.
Douglas Fir along trail. I identified it by its bark and unique cones. I guess the circumference of the tree was about 10 feet, only because my wingspan around it was roughly half. There were only a couple other Douglas firs in the area.
Near a small open field, the plant did not grow past the point of my knees. It had yellowish-pink unopened flowers growing and pointy dentated leaves (see picture).
Species found on the east side of Hansee Hall on the University of Washington campus. This plant is about four feet tall, and is surrounded by ferns. In the afternoon it is hidden in shade. The plant has yellow unopened flowers connected to red stems, but the older stems are brown and slightly grooved. The leaves are pointy with a dark green top (with a slight sheen) and a dull pale green on bottom.
This area shows a lot of understory at the refuge. There are several trees at the refuge, but they do not have their leaves back yet. On the ground many of the plants sprawl out or shoot straight up. If there had not been a boardwalk this area would have been difficult to walk through.
Otherwise known as Kinnikinnick, this plant was growing low to the ground towards the end of the loop on the Nisqually trail. The plant did not have red berries yet, but it was budding with pink flowers.
Seen towards end of the Nisqually loop, just before the visitors center. This plant was just buddy and had small leaves. It was nearly seven-nine feet tall and had tall single shoots at the top.
Several wood ducks were seen in a small pond area near the estuary of the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. There were over 40 ducks in the area. The Wood Ducks had a thick white band on top of their head with black on the sides. All of them had primarily brown bodies. The picture shows the ducks in the background, but they are too far away to see. Various kinds of Pintail, American Widgens, and Northern Shovelers ducks were also spotted.
Using a large telescope, a bald eagle was spotted in a tall tree overlooking the wetland, estuary area. The eagle was large and had the traditional white head and dark black body. Please see picture on the observation of the Northern Herringer to see a picture of the area. Both were spotted at this location.
Marsh Hawk found in large open field along Nisqually Wildlife Refuge trail. There were a few stag trees in the area and standing water visible through patches of grass. The bird was dark brown and smaller than the Red-tailed hawk we saw earlier. It was using a technique called "kiting" where the hawk used wind currents to stay up without flapping its wings. It almost seemed like the bird was simply levitating rather than flying. The hawk used this technique quite a few times when it was looking over the grass land area.
Unfortunately the hawk was too far away to get a picture, but I did get a picture of the area.
Two birds swimming upstream in Nisqually River. One was mostly white with a black head and reddish beak. The other (the female) had a gray body, small white spot near its bottom, and a brownish/red head that had somewhat spikey feathers. These birds were identified using a bird guidebook.
Sparrows with yellow on head and two brown stripes on either side. Pecking at buds of bush. Small beaks, but pointy. Light brown/gray body with dark brown spotting and white tips. Due to speed and distance no picture could be taken.
Small Bewick's wren heard in the underbrush near trail, but not seen. Called in using iBird application on the iPhone and the bird flew near use trying to defend its territory. Upon not seeing a bird where the noises were coming from it flew and landed in a dense shrub. Small white stripe on head and brown body (that had splotches of dark and light brown). Picture shows bird in the middle.
Small bird with black head and thick white band on the cheek. The rest of the body was a muted brown color. These birds (approximately 7-10 of them) were in a brush area most likely feeding on gnats. Identification from bird book. Picture of area, but no birds visible in picture.
Beautiful black bird sitting on rock along Nisqually River. This bird is all black except for a small (couple inches) white spot towards it back end. Through binoculars we could see red around the eye of the Cormorant. Another cormorant flew by and dived into the water, but then left afterward. The bird had a yellowish beak. Due to distance no picture could be taken.
Blue Herron along Nasqually River seen. Blue and gray back, long white feathers under beak and a black stripe going from the eye to the back of the head. Black also seen on what appears to be under the wings. Due to distance a picture could not be taken, but I did take a picture of the location. The bird was standing on the edge of the river being very still and looking into the water. After a while it flew away.
Hawk with yellow eyes, big body, brown/white belly and broad wings when flying. Brown/black tail (striped). The bird flew to a tree right next to the trail. It was absolutely amazing to see the hawk that close, and I was surprised that it was not bothered by our large crowd.
Saw a Common Yellowthroat jumping around on a Maple tree and then flying all around the tree. The bird had a soft yellow on its throat and a light brown back. The belly was almost white, but not quite. This bird was identified using a bird guidebook and a sign nearby said they were in the area. Unfortunately do to its speed and distance no picture was taken.