Trans: Latin prefix implying "across" or "Beyond", often used in gender nonconforming situations – Scend: Archaic word describing a strong "surge" or "wave", originating with 15th century english sailors – Survival: 15th century english compound word describing an existence only worth transcending.

Category: Sit Spot Observations (Page 2 of 7)


Well.  There comes a time when one remembering the right things at the right time equates to a high-stakes venture in academia.

Below is a gallery of photos taken today, comprised almost entirely out of bark, leaves, and twigs.  This is my study guide for the upcoming natural history final exam.  It is not near complete; but for a walk through the woods and a significant number of hours behind a camera, computer, and coffee cup, I think it will do for now.  Frogs, tracks, and birds are not covered here.



Hunting for Trees = BIRDS

Today, I went lurking about Langdon Woods in search of as many trees as possible.  I took over 300 photos of bark, leaves, and twigs, aiming to highlight the growth patterns and key ID features of the trees on the PSU natural history final exam.   This went well, and I will be posting these Tree-I-Dee's as soon as I get through the pictures.

The following photos are the result of chance and some enthusiastic "pishing" I did to draw in the birds, so I would not need to get to off course.

  1.  Redstart Warbler.  This is almost certainly a breeding male in full attire.   The Redstart song is often heard through these New Hampshire forests these days.  This fellow responded very well to "pish" sounds, and danced over to me to see what the fuss was about.

2. Black-and-White Warbler.  These Warblers have a weezy, squeaky sound almost identical to a rusty wheel. They act like Nuthatches but "dance" up and down the tree more enthusiastically, which is often a good way to tell which is which.

3.  Hermit Thrush.  These amber-toned thrushes have a beautiful song, but the only thrush singing today was the large Ovenbird population.   More characteristic to the forests on the sides of white mountains, they will all sing together about an half an hour before sunrise.  The proper thrushes (not including robin) of NH seem to follow an altitude metric:  Ovenbird lives at the bottom, Hermit lives in the low hills, Swainson's sings in the mossy forest below the krumholz, and Bicknell's rules them all, only breeding above four thousand feet.  !!!


Fox Park to Langdon: Morning Birds!

Without further ado:

This morning, I went birding across the campus starting at sunrise.  Below is the species list, and two ID shots- Ruby-crowned kinglet and Yellow warbler.

2 Canada Goose
2 Mourning Dove
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Downy Woodpecker
2 Eastern Phoebe
2 Blue Jay
2 American Crow
1 Common Raven
3 Black-capped Chickadee
2 Tufted Titmouse
1 House Wren
2 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
2 American Robin
1 Northern Mockingbird
1 Ovenbird
1 Black-and-white Warbler
1 Yellow Warbler
1 Black-throated Blue Warbler
1 Chipping Sparrow
2 White-throated Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
1 Northern Cardinal
1 Common Grackle
1 House Finch
1 American Goldfinch
2 House Sparrow

*1 Black-throated Green Warbler, *Yellow-rumped Warbler found later.

Number of Taxa: 26 + 2

Above is a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.  Note the crown is not ruby colored.

Above is a deeply-hued Yellow Warbler.  A pure sounding, "Sweet-sweet-sweet, so-so Sweet!"- heard all over the forest an parking lots alike.


The Big Len List

This morning at 7am, very few birds were singing.  Behind the Rugby  field in a solid rain, a small group of people stood with their noses to the sky.  This is PSU's very own Len R.  -led class on vertebrate zoology.  Now, please note I do not take this class, but I know a thing or two about Len.   Len is a bird master; this means vertebrate zoology in the springtime may just equate to an excellent excuse to find and learn about birds and warblers on the premise of a college class.  Thank goodness warblers have backbones.

The following list was compiled mostly by Len and another student (who also is not taking the course...).

The louisiana waterthrush, black and white warbler, and a glowing male redstart (all of which are warblers, despite the different naming conventions) really hit this walk out of the park for me.



Langdon Woods with Kurt: Plants!

Today- after an extremely productive 7am trip with the vertebrate zoology class mind you- I nipped over to Langdon Woods in the rain to learn about the the little plants growing around the forest floor at a rapid, hydrated rate.  The ones I can remember off the top of my head include:

Bunchberry:  a ground covering plant with red berries clustered in a bunch.  Edible!

Partridge berry: a tiny plant with a leaf or two red berry on top.  not dangerous to eat!

Goldenthread: A little plant with three fan-shaped leaves. the deep orange root has numbing and diuretic properties.  Useful! Probably not good nutrition though!

Purple trillium:  a flower with an exotic crimson color.  It is also called "stinking benjamin" because it has an undesirable odor when in bloom.   Nice to look at!

Starflower:  A distinctive, flat white flower with 7 blades.  the leaves all grow from the same spot in a circle- a phenomenon known also in pine trees as a "whorl".  Pretty!

Indian cucumber:  a plant that also grows leaves in a whorl shape, with a varying number of leaves.  A prime  root tastes and feels like a sweet carrot.  Some think they can tell how developed the cucumber is by how many leaves are on the plant, though I do not know this to be true.  Very tasty!

Wintergreen:  a small thick-leafed plant.  The leaves are round and a bit waxy looking, but the point is it is a great consumable.  Makes great tea!

Sensitive fern:  This is a fairly nondescript fern with one key feature: it leaves its fertile fronds attached to the plant for a while, making them easy to spot.  Just look for brown "beaded" fronds sticking straight up this is a clear indication of sensitive fern.  Fun to ID!

Ostrich fern:  A big fern with large fiddleheads.   Great sauteed!


There are more plants we covered, but these are the ones I can remember the best.


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