I find that one of the most difficult observations, is seeing what is NOT there. As a pathologist examining tissues under the microscope, noticing what was NOT there was the most difficult.
There are no honey bees in this photo. For 3 previous years there has been a very active and healthy hive in the crack between the chimney and the wall. I last saw activity of the hive in November. Winter was rather normal this year in temperature and rain. I never saw bees again, not on any of the warm days, and not now 1 month after activity would be expected. There are no cultivated crops within a mile. Within 5 miles maybe a cornfield, and some Christmas tree farms. No cultivation with significant use of herbicide. Apple orchards are 5 miles away. This is a sad mystery for me.
This is called bulbous buttercup locally, Ranunculus bulbosa
Mountain water cress grows year round near our spring, and is always a nice addition to a salad.
Apple trees blossomed 3 weeks later than last year, hopefully that will save them from a killing frost.
This is called Mountain bellwort locally, I think Uvularia pudica.
Suzie discovered a fox den while hiking; a sound alerted her. I went back and observed the den from time to time. I have seen three kits, and separately a red fox in a nearby field.
Shadbush or Sarvisberry as it is called locally bloomed on 18 April 2013. Last year, a much warmer March, it bloomed on March 25, 2012.
Common weed, but any color is welcome as winter finally ends in the mountains.
Photo by Suzie Ross
Seen, where it appears each spring, along side a small stream.
These tracks overlay my boot prints from 28 March. An experienced tracker might be confident enough to call this definitively a raccoon observation. I think I will call it a 'sign'
A ball of newts consisting of approximately 100 individuals has formed just over where a spring bubbles up into the bottom edge of this pond. I have seen newts congregate here often, and even seen this 'ball' formation before. Is it temperature (the spring is about 43F and the pond 33F) or is it micronutrients?
Doing some renovation in the outbuilding that houses my shop, I discovered a colony of flying squirrels behind the paneling. They were disturbed, but returned after I have replaced the panel, and continue to be there 5 more years until the present. I find dropped walnut shells on the floor, and occasionally shed snake skins, their coexisting predator.
This moth, captured inside the house and later released, when surprised flashed its wings to reveal these two large eyespots. It even startled me.
This smallish bear was curious and looking into my blind, that I had set up to photograph birds on the pond. This is the only bear I have seen in several years, although scat and other signs are quite common.
Skunks are quite common here. As a new brood matures, the young are frequently seen on the lawn at mid day, as opposed to the usual nocturnal habit. This is dangerous activity and I have seen several kittens carried off by hawks.
Unfortunately, this bird died after colliding with a window. I 'autopsy' found dead birds, making notes of any diseases (mites, etc), stomach contents, and then I save the skin; not Audubon, but doing my part to investigate.