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Reposted from Gwennedd by KenBee Editor's Note: front yard, back yard, history of...personal science I'd call it. anybody wants to publish it, I have no idea if this action does that or puts it their for the PTB to publish it..whatever all that means anyway. -- KenBee
Titled: Sea Otter - Putting His Feet Up
Artist: Mark Hobson
In many ways I've had a charmed childhood. I grew up in a small village in Wales: Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant, and when I turned 10, my parents sent me to boarding school in Ireland. I'd spend the week at the school, and weekends with my grandmother who lived jut outside of Dublin on Howth Head. A beautiful spot. When I was 12 my family moved to Canada, Victoria on Vancouver Island, to be exact. I spent many happy years growing up there and have some very fond and funny memories....some of which I'd like to share with you.

It's about otters and how I got to be rather familiar with them.

Come below the flowing orange kelp and I'll regale you with tales from yesteryear and awesome pics.

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babby
I wrote up this bucket of baby birds a week ago after returning from Belize, and then got involved in some personal family "nesting"...my daughter "hatched out" her own nestling on Saturday. It was more complicated than expected but it turned out well...baby and mom are healthy and happy, and I've had reason to be grateful for the infrastructure, medical expertise and technology we take for granted as a fundamental right in a civilized society. In nature, animals are always on the edge of survival, and many - or most - of their young don't make it. It's humbling to regard the beauty and grace and drama of wildlife knowing that fact is integral to their existence. We humans have it easy comparatively, but we tend to forget there is a price for the benefits of civilization, both upfront and from its unintended consequences. The immediacy of recent events reminds me that we humans are animals too, and while there is extreme contrast between these nestings, we are all fragile in a challenging world.  

frigatebird booby nesting 1

The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group.  It is a place to note any observations you have made of the world around you.  Rain, sun, wind...insects, birds, flowers...meteorites, rocks...seasonal changes...all are worthy additions to the bucket.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.
April 2015
Halfmoon Caye, Belize

Bucketeers have been reporting bird nesting activity going into high gear throughout the U.S. lately, from courting Sandhill Cranes in the Midwest to fledgling Titmouses in California. Nesting is a spring activity for birds in the tropics too, as I saw recently on a trip to the outer atolls of Belize.

One patch of woods on a remote caye is a busy nesting colony for both Magnificent Frigatebirds (Fregata magnificens) and for Red-Footed Boobies (Sula sula) who raise their young at close quarters in the canopy of native tropical trees. Climbing stairs up to a platform, visitors can look out over the top of the canopy. It's hot, noisy, pungent and dynamic. Come with me on a brief photo-tour to get a taste of it :)

Red-Footed Boobies only come near land when they are breeding. This small island in Lighthouse Reef atoll, a Belize National Monument, is one of the few places to see them up close. Boobies, like the adult perched on this branch, are considerably outnumbered by Frigatebirds, who frequent harbors as well as the open sea. Both feed on squid and fish. Some of those circling Frigatebirds above the Booby are intent on fishing, some are juveniles practicing their flying, and some are waiting for Boobies to return from far off at sea with food for their nestlings. Frigatebirds engage in kleptoparasitism for a portion of their food, harassing other birds to give up their own catch.

frigatebird booby nesting 2

frigatebird booby nesting 3

There were many more Frigatebirds visible than Boobies in the colony. Very young Boobies are a downy white while fledglings are gray like this one.

frigatebird booby nesting 4

(All photos by me. In Lightbox...click to enlarge)

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Reposted from johnatx by PHScott
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     Seeing no Daily Bucket and itching to post more links I see in my online neighborhood of the NW Coast..here tis.

  As usual, haha,  you don't need my permission to use this as an open thread related to natural sciences, stuff we see in our yards and elsewhere, and any political machinations we need to know about:

like this:

Washington State allows Oyster company to spray imidacloprid on Willapa Bay?!?!?!?>

That's the stuff that is blamed for killing honeybees..it's is labeled not to be used on water, but a Oyster company has appealed to use it to kill native shrimp that hurt the oyster farming ..a practice where they seem to lay the oysters on the bottom. Other operations such as the ones in Humboldt bay they now hang them in nets above the bottom avoiding some of the shrimp problems and the still to be seen with google earth eelgrass bed harms.
  And that is about all I know about oyster farming practices...

    They are going to spray this neurotoxin in Willapa Bay Washington in about 14 days..so you have 13 to complain. To whom is maybe relevant...we'll read the article and see.

Today a follow up:

Chefs ‘horrified’ by plan to spray pesticide on oyster beds

Don't make the chefs mad....or me.

I hope I don't lay an egg....I have people for that. well, not people exactly but we raised her from an egg...

Any pictures might maybe actually work in Lightbox mode..click them, if they embiggenate for you...it's in Lightbox mode.

more on over past the shrimpy thing..

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- Curious about something you saw while walking in the woods?  Spot the coolest bug ever?  The prettiest flower and butterfly?  Stumble on a rock and found a fossil? Or was it? This is the place to show your discoveries and share in the knowledge of the natural world right outside our doors. Join in the fun everyday at The Daily Bucket.  
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Florida's tropical habitat makes it well-suited for reptiles and a population center for turtles and snakes. Most of our snakes are secretive and nocturnal, and despite their numbers are not often seen. One exception, however, is the Black Racer.

The Daily Bucket is a regular series from the Backyard Science group. Here we talk about Mother Nature in all her glory, especially the parts that live nearby. So let us know (as close as you are comfortable) where you are and what's going on around you. What's the weather like? Seen any interesting plants, bugs or critters? Are there birds at your feeders? Deer, foxes or peahens in your yard? Seen any cool rocks or geological features? Post your observations and notes here. And photos. We like lots of photos.  :)
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- Curious about something you saw while walking in the woods?  Spot the coolest bug ever?  The prettiest flower and butterfly?  Stumble on a rock and found a fossil? Or was it? This is the place to show your discoveries and share in the knowledge of the natural world right outside our doors. Join in the fun everyday at The Daily Bucket.  
April 2015

Yes I know, for most of the USA it is SPRING! But in North Florida, spring was so 2 months ago. Given the 90º temps and high humidity in between the rain days, it sure feels like summer. The spring ephemerals are long gone but we are blessed with later-blooming wildflowers and trees.

I'll start with photos taken in my yard the last few days and then after the fold, a few photos from Spring Canyon on the other side of Gadsden County from me.

Coral Bean - A favorite of mine, and one of the first wildflowers I was able to ID when I bought this property 7 years ago. I have lots more now that I know how to plant the seed (when pod is dry but beans are green, before the beans turn red and harden, otherwise you have to scarify it). It takes about 3 years for a new plant to flower.

Coral Bean
Blue Flag Iris - despite the size and bright colors, these are easy to miss since the blooms are gone in a couple days. This colony is growing near the duff and bark from the big Loblolly Pine that fell in front of me last December.
Blue Flag Iris
Butterflyweed - any day now.... This is growing in my little bit of yard by the house. Four stems this year; 1 stem the year I found it. I've been trying to start more whenever a milkweed pod develops, but I don't do so well on plants that need care other than broadcast and hope. Starting seeds and potting them up is doomed to death by neglect.
Butterflyweed
With all the flowers around here, there must be butterflies. Here's a Red-spotted Purple sunning itself on a Magnolia leaf. If you look close you can almost see the red spots on the upper wing. Then last night when picking a bit of parsley, I may have seen the egg of a recent visitor, a Black Swallowtail. The egg was a yellow dot about this "º" big. Hope I see the caterpillar or chrysalis this year.
Red-spotted Purple
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I took advantage of a spring minus tide to explore an interesting historical feature along the Bellingham waterfront and to investigate how the intertidal denizens were faring in and around this feature. As you will see, this is not a pristine Salish Sea beach, as if there were such a thing anymore.  However, in spite of 150 years of habitat trashing, there remains a remnant of an earlier ecosystem.

         2015-04-18 tin pile beach 012
                                                    The big tin rock

The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group.  It is a place to note any observations you have made of the world around you. Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds and/or flowers.  All are worthy additions to the bucket.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.
Join me below the tangle of orange bull kelp to explore this bit of beach.
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The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group.  It is a place to note any observations you have made of the world around you. Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds and/or flowers.  All are worthy additions to the bucket.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.

Castro Valley, CA

Continued below the orange worm tracks

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Sun Apr 26, 2015 at 06:36 AM PDT

The Daily Bucket: Texas State Flowers

by FOYI

That's not a typo. Texas has six State flowers, all of them bluebonnets. This is the time of year they begin to weave their carpet of color all across the state.


Lupinus texensis


The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group.  It is a place to note any observations you have made of the world around you.  Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds and/or flowers.  All are worthy additions to the bucket.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.

            The Legend of the Bluebonnet

            The Texas fields are covered
            With a blanket of deep blue.
            But for a little Indian girl,
            This would not be true.

            Texas land was buried and dry.
            Rains just would not come.
            Indians danced and prayed for rain,
            And beat upon their drums.

            The Chief made a proclamation.
            He appealed to one and all.
            A prized possession must be sacrificed
            Before the rains would fall.

            The Indian camp was silent,
            While each person searched his heart.
            But when it came to sacrifice,
            With possessions they would not part.


            Suddenly a little girl stepped forth,
            Holding her blue-clad doll.
            She placed it in the roaring fire
            and raindrops began to fall.

            The rain brought forth the grass,
            Among its blades, flowers of blue.
            To be a sign for all the time
            Of a love so pure and true.
                          Author Unknown



Lupinus are part of the pea family and go by many names including Texas lupine, Buffalo clover, el conejo,  and Wolf-flower. The name bluebonnet comes from their color and the fact that the flower resembles the sunbonnets worn by Texas pioneer women.

The seeds resemble velvety peas and have a unique, delayed germinating characteristic which allows the plants to survive years of drought and adverse growing conditions.

Bluebonnet seed pods

The history of how the bluebonnet became the state flower is an interesting one.

In the spring of 1901, the Texas Legislature got down to the serious business of selecting a state floral emblem and the ensuing battle was hot and heavy. One legislator spoke emotionally in favor of the cotton boll since cotton was king in Texas in those days. Another, a young man from Uvalde, extolled the virtues of the cactus so eloquently, noting the hardy durability of the plant and the orchid-like beauty of its flowers, that he earned the nickname of "Cactus Jack" which stuck with him for the rest of his life. He was John Nance Garner and later became vice president of the United States.

But the National Society of Colonial Dames of America in Texas won the day. Their choice was Lupinus subcarnosus ("generally known as buffalo clover or bluebonnet," stated the resolution) and it was passed into law on March 7 without any recorded opposition.

And that's when the polite bluebonnet war was started.
Aggie-Horticulture

Some people preferred Lupinus texensis, a larger variety which covers most of the state. And so after 70 years the issue was settled diplomatically by including all species of bluebonnets.


WHEREAS, The Lupinus Texensis is considered the most beautiful species of bluebonnet and is to be found almost anywhere in the fields and along the highways of Texas; and

WHEREAS, Other varieties of bluebonnet also grow in the state, among them the Lupinus Subcarnosus, which was named State Flower of Texas by the 27th Legislature on March 7, 1901, at the request of the Colonial Dames in Texas; and

WHEREAS, Mrs. Robert Ward Cutler, Texas Goodwill Ambassador by appointment of the Governor of Texas, with the cooperation of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Texas has asked this 62nd Legislature, 70 years after the bluebonnet was selected as official state flower, to include the Lupinus Texensis and any other variety of bluebonnet not heretofore recorded along with the Lupinus Subcarnosus for recognition as the official state flower of Texas; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the State of Texas, the Senate concurring, That the Lupinus Texensis and any other variety of bluebonnet not heretofore recorded be recognized along with the Lupinus Subearnosus as the official state flower of the State of Texas.
HCR No.44

The six species so far include:
    Lupinus texensis, Texas bluebonnet or Texas lupine
    Lupinus havardii, Big Bend bluebonnet or Chisos bluebonnet
    Lupinus argenteus, silvery lupine
    Lupinus concinnus, Bajada lupine
    Lupinus plattensis, Nebraska lupine
    Lupinus subcarnosus, sandyland bluebonnet or buffalo clover

Bluebonnets are not all blue. They can be pink, white and maroon. I've yet  to see a white bluebonnet. The image below is by Joseph Marcus via The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.


As the pollen in each flower looses viability the banner spot turns from white to pink to magenta.

Some years the fields and pastures are quite the sight to see . . .


Ennis, Texas  April 2012  Photographer unknown

Updated to add the pink and white bluebonnets my neighbor directed me to today.

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During a recent walk, I decided to focus my attention on all the little things around me--the life that mostly goes unnoticed by everyone as they walk by...

The Daily Bucket is a regular series from the Backyard Science group. Here we talk about Mother Nature in all her glory, especially the parts that live nearby. So let us know (as close as you are comfortable) where you are and what's going on around you. What's the weather like? Seen any interesting plants, bugs or critters? Are there birds at your feeders? Deer, foxes or peahens in your yard? Seen any cool rocks or geological features? Post your observations and notes here. And photos. We like lots of photos.  :)
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Standin' in the sunlight laughin'
Hidin' behind a rainbow's wall
Slippin' and a-slidin'
All along the waterfall

With you, my blue billed duck
You my blue billed duck

The Backyard Science group regularly publishes The Daily Bucket, which features observations of the world around us.  What's in your backyard? Funny insects, unusual birds, pretty flowers, healthy vegetables, or shy snakes?

Any of these and much more are worthy additions to the Bucket and its comments.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment, and provide a picture if you can.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to as we try to understand the patterns that are unwinding around us.

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