As I mentioned on Twitter, I spent most of today visiting some of the local areas that I will soon be taking groups of school kids to in order to teach them about the environment. It was a beautiful day and it was great to get outside and walk around.
While the places I visited aren’t exactly anyone’s backyard, they are all easily accessible areas, and further prove that you don’t need a remote wilderness to find great opportunities. For example, today I had a few exciting wildlife sightings!
First, while visiting a local farm, I saw some amphibian wildlife:
Tadpoles! Always a great sighting and promise of new life to come. Tadpoles and caterpillars both go through such an amazing metamorphosis. They can be so common to see that its easy to forget how interesting a process this really is–imagine being born in a completely different state than what you will eventually become. For tadpoles this means not only growing legs, but also losing a tail!
At this same farm I also saw a toad hiding in the grass and was able to get this close-up:
After my visit to the farm I headed out to another environmental area. I walked around for about 40 minutes, and on my way back to the car I saw this fuzzy white thing moving in the grass in a nearby field. I had to squint to see at first, but as I moved closer I saw that the fuzzy white thing was actually a skunk! I was very excited to be so close to one, and sat on the grass, from a safe distance, to just watch it for a while. Well, the skunk must not have noticed me–there was a heavy wind probably blowing my scent away–and as it foraged it started moving closer and closer. I suddenly realized the mistake I had made by sitting down, and had two options to choose from: stand up while the skunk was still a small distance away, probably startling it enough that it might turn and spray, or sit perfectly still to avoid detection, but with the chance that the skunk would walk right up to me and suddenly realize I was human and spray then. The skunk kept heading straight for me, and I started getting more and more nervous. Suddenly, it whipped its head up and looked right at me. I was able to snap this picture right at that moment:
I don’t know if the wind changed, or something else happened that made the skunk suddenly notice me, but it did, and a few seconds later made a hasty retreat:
It was very exciting! I have seen (and certainly smelled) skunks before, but never so close. It was an unexpected treat topping off a really nice day outside. Have you been able to get outside recently? What kind of things have been interesting to you? I’d like to extend an invitation to everyone to take photos of the natural world around them–plants, animals, rocks, streams, anything!–and share them with this blog! I would love to see what you have found in your backyard and local area. I enjoy taking and posting my own pictures, but I would also love to put up any of your pictures as well!
If you have something you’d like to share, please e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please remember that by sending something to this e-mail, you are confirming that it is your own original work and you are authorized to share it! So next time you see something that interests you, take a quick picture! It can be with the most expensive camera equipment or with your cellphone (which is what I used to take all of these pictures today, by the way). Let’s see what we can find together!