An Amazing Tree – Part II

I’ve had a closer look at this mysterious tree. Not being able to quickly label this tree resulted in something wonderful…an awareness of the details that make it unique. As with most learning experiences, I find it to be very very helpful to explore qualities and concepts prior to visiting the label (even though this […]

The tranquility of Nature- NOT!

With recent stories of raptor sightings around Charlottesville, including Osprey and Bald Eagle, I’d like to share one of Bill Dunson’s stories with you. It introduces a very fierce predator…the Great-Horned Owl, and its occasional interactions with the Osprey. I have seen several accounts of Bald Eagle and Osprey around town, and imagine these and […]

Belmont Bridge Ecosytem, a Broad View

I visited the Cooper’s Hawk yesterday. It remained perched in its usual spot for at least 2 1/2 hours. While I was taking some photographs, a train lurched by, and an enormous metal dinosaur continued its debris removal nearby, a building reduced to rubble. It’s been real cold; probably the longest stretch of teens (nighttime) […]

Mystery Critter Tracks

I have to say the snow storm that blanketed the region in late December couldn’t have come at a better time. We were fortunate to enjoy a week and a half of vacation time together as a family just after the snow fell. The joys of being house and neighborhood bound for several days meant […]

A Comparison of Two Common Hickories

Recently I spent a couple of hours observing the stems of two trees: Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata) and Pignut Hickory (Carya glabra). The result of time spent with these trees was a thorough exploration of the details of their stems, leaf buds, leaf scars and other minor details. Distinguishing between the two has become quite […]

The Power of Sharing Stories

Well, …unthinkable amounts of snow have blanketed much of the east, sending all animals into various states of surprise and frantic. Voles were spotted racing across the top of the deep snow, a dangerous dash. Songbirds jockeyed for positions at feeders. Large mammals could be seen partaking in a ritual of repositioning the snow…so they […]

Unsuspected beauty in snake plant flowers

It is hard to believe that anyone has not at some time had snake plants (Sansevieria) in their family households. The ability of this interesting but strange plant to survive almost any treatment made it popular around the world as a house plant. Unfortunately in warmer areas such as Florida they ended up planted outside […]

An Amazing Tree – Part I

Photograph taken December 22, 2009. Charlottesville, Virginia. We have an oak that, for some reason, refuses to give in to the changing seasons. Forgive the anthropomorphism, but symbolically, it refuses to give up in the face of cold and lack of light.Here we are in the early throws of winter, and buried in two feet […]

A Master of the Hunt

Another chapter in the ecology of Belmont Bridge. It was only a few cold days ago that I spotted an animal as I drove across that bridge. Its unusual posture could be seen in silhouette in the shadows of a large tree on the North side of the Beck Cohen building. We see lots of […]