We had almost exactly 4 inches of rain from Matthew and related weather cells last week. I finally got around to emptying the gauge yesterday,  and to my surprise, there at the bottom of the reservoir was this (unfortunately dead) red-backed salamander. This is a bit of an odd amphibian in that it is not water-adapted at any point in its life cycle, so diving in was an unnatural act. It took some doing to climb up a few inches to the top and dive …

Too Much of A Good Thing: a Drowned Salamander Read more »

This red-spotted newt was a reluctant participant yesterday as the thunder rumbled closer and closer. He appeared under the same cluster of Jack’oLantern mushrooms I showed you a few days ago–with another amphibian hiding therein. But to create the shot I wanted, I had to stage the orange vertebrate over and over on the fading orange mushroom and hope to stop the blur of his motion. What I notice looking at the full resolution image is that the tiny black spots that adorn these creatures …

Amphibian Angst Read more »

Meet the Shrooms–a couple and their small child (in the middle) that we encountered on the Middle Path after this week’s welcome rains. She, gesticulating on the right seems to be pleading with him, on the left, to blahblahblah, while he seems to be… Sorry. Woodland Whimsy strikes the already-deranged and cloistered Forested Firsts.

I heard an interview with the inventor on NPR last week and had to pull over to jot down the term “fold scope” lest I forget. I really don’t think I would have forgotten after all, since this fellow from Stanford is not only a mechanical genius, but also expressed in his NPR interview that kind of science-education hopes that resonate with me. And above all, he holds great stock in the role that curiosity and discovery must play in our lives as science-and-nature …

Through the Looking Glass: A $1 Paper Microscope Read more »

You have, perhaps by now, read a story that broke a week or two ago. There are still unanswered questions about the source of several ounces by volume of liquid mercury that a school child innocently brought to his school. Talk about a freak-out. A swarm of hazmat-garbed toxicology agents besieged the school, which is opening back up for classes again just today, to clean up the potential toxin. Now this story is close to my heart, being thankful, in hindsight, that my similar …

Mercury Rising Read more »