Don’t Eat the Death Camas…or ‘Death’ Anything


In a bid to learn more about “death camass”, Google led me to this wonderful blog!

Nature's Poisons

Plant poisonings are a funny thing. Most people aren’t actively seeking out poisonous plants in which to eat, that would be dumb. Rather they mistake them for something else through an honest mistake, willful ignorance, or just plain foraging hubris. I hate foraging hubris. But I digress.

Take the “Death Camas.” I’d like to believe that no sane person would willfully eat something with the name “death” in it, but accidents happen. The Death Camas, of many varieties, used to belong solely to the Zigadenus genus, with about twenty different species. But botanists being botanists decided that wasn’t good enough, and blew the genus up. Now, the Death Camas’ are spread among the Anticlea, Stenanthium, and Toxicoscordion genus, with just one species, Zigadenus glaberrimus, left in the original I find this all so confusing, which is probably the number one reason why I’m not a botanist. But it…

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Join the Global Shorebird Counting Loyalty Program


Source: Join the Global Shorebird Counting Loyalty Program

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The bittersweet end of a field project


After five years, 65 nests and more a thousand point counts, I had my last day in the field yesterday with nighthawks. It’s been a wonderful experience. I know that wherever I end up next, it will never be like this. To see a video of a nighthawk and her chick, click here.

via Five years of nighthawks — A Feathered Reptile

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Prairie-Chicken Nests Appear Unaffected by Wind Energy Facility


Source: Prairie-Chicken Nests Appear Unaffected by Wind Energy Facility

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10 August 2017 – no casualties


Both hummingbird carcasses still in evidence. The whole bird from the southeastern alcove has been decapitated, presumably by the ants.

The tail from the southwestern alcove made things a bit more interesting by being gone.  I wasn’t too surprised by that because we had storms roll through overnight that I assumed would have blown that little bit of feathers away.  So I started looking around just to see if I could figure out in which crack in the bricks it ended up.  I couldn’t find it, but my more intensive searching did turn up these tidbits:

Screen Shot 2017-08-10 at 8.51.25 AM  Screen Shot 2017-08-10 at 8.51.50 AM

Aha!  So it looks like yesterday’s tail was not necessarily from a hummingbird that had been scavenged.  It looks more like a lawnmower got it. It also seems to have been a HY male, Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

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Birding While Black


More great thoughts on the inclusivity that’s sorely needed in birding and other outdoor recreation!

Black Outdoors

The flock of birdwatchers meandered along the trail in the meadows. Suddenly they stopped. Binoculars raised, the group scanned the copse of trees on the left. Someone softly called out a yellow warbler. The birders drifted along, stopping and starting when a new bird was seen or heard.

There was a rare bird among the birders. Me. A Black woman participating in an activity that is almost exclusively white. I raised my binoculars too and spotted the great blue heron flitting above the tree line. A turkey vulture did lazy circles high in the blue-less sky.

Outdoor recreation is a racialized hobby. Whites do it. Blacks don’t. Birding fits that general pattern as almost ninety per cent of birders are non-Black. In general, birdwatchers are middle-aged, have high income and education, and appeals to slightly more women than men.

It does not cost much to start off as a birder…

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July 2017 iNaturalist Vermont Photo-Observation of the Month — Vermont Center for Ecostudies


Has a Painted Lady ever looked more ravishing?  If you haven’t discovered iNaturalist, it’s time.

Painted Lady nectaring on coneflower. /© Bryan Pfeiffer Congratulations to Bryan Pfeiffer for winning the July 2017 iNaturalist Vermont photo-observation of the month contest. His image of a Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) was the most popular photo-observation as measured by clicked ‘favs’. Painted Ladies arrived in Vermont in large numbers at the end of the month and were noted by many across the state.…

via July 2017 iNaturalist Vermont Photo-Observation of the Month — Vermont Center for Ecostudies

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