Nature blogs spring to life
By Randy A. Salas
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Spring is finally here. It might not be as noticeable in northern climes, but it's slowly blooming across the country, as chronicled in these nature blogs from various regions. Their photo-driven accounts of everyday natural wonders are fascinating no matter where you live.
In Bird Brained Stories, Gwyn Calvetti follows the feathered fauna of the beautiful Coulee Region, which encompasses western Wisconsin, southeastern Minnesota, northeastern Iowa and northwestern Illinois. In recent postings, the avid storyteller wondered which horned lark would be the last "winter" bird of the season and reveled in black-capped chickadees feeding out of her hand - "nothing short of magical," she writes.
Jace Stansbury writes his Journals of an Amateur Naturalist from Texas. Posts run the gamut from his taking pride in a colony of purple martins that he fostered to figuring out what killed a dove based on the clues left behind at the scene (a gray fox?). A sense of wonder pervades all, such as an elusive bobcat that paused long enough for a photo and then "was gone like an apparition - like it never had even existed."
Bill Hilton Jr.'s This Week at Hilton Pond is particularly fitting today because his online journal focuses on phenology, or the study of changes in nature, such as seasonal transitions. It originates from the Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History in York, S.C., where he recently was startled by a loud thump against his office window. The creature that caused the noise was nowhere to be found, but its feather dander left behind "the perfect, ghostly silhouette of a bird with outstretched wings" on the glass, he wrote. From that physical evidence, he deduced that the bird was probably a female mourning dove. Cool.
Nature and science writer Chris Clarke is just as likely to mix in politics and music with his posts about goings-on in his California environs, which include the Bay Area wilderness and treks to the desert. Running throughout his recent posts about his favorite plants, gardening and shoveling horse manure is a black ribbon of sorrow over the February death of his beloved dog, Zeke. "The task is to kill time until I follow him," he pines.
Paul Lamble's Roundrock Journal is probably updated more than any other blog covered today. He writes almost daily about his explorations of his 80-acre spread, whether it's plant (an acorn stash in a fallen tree), animal (bleached-out turtle shells) or mineral (the cannonball concretions that give his blog its name). There is much to do on his parcel, he says, but "when the weekends come and I find myself at Roundrock, I tend to forget my list of chores and just take comfort in the comfy chair under the shady tarp overlooking the empty lake in my little bit of forest on the edge of the Missouri Ozarks."
Birds dominate the beautifully shot images from the travels of nature photographer Kevin Doxstater, whether it's an unusual green jay at the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in Texas or a white-crowned sparrow near Hungry Horse, Mont. But lots of other critters show up in his Natural Visions blog, too, such as a yawning river otter he caught spectacularly in central Florida and a Hopi chipmunk snapped in Utah. Doxstater always seems to be on the move, much to the delight of online nature lovers.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
Randy A. Salas is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Do you have a favorite Web site or a question about how to find something on the Internet? Send a note by clicking here.
That was then; this is now
© 2007, Star Tribune Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.