Take a second look …
The yellow eyes of the Saw-whet Owl are so startling, their gaze so steady, that we tend to ignore everything else. It’s easy to miss the trace of blood just below the owl’s bill, a smear of something that changes the way we look at the bird, that deepens our understanding of it. What discoveries might we make if we took that second look more often, if we trained ourselves to see?
All damselflies—the tiny, slimmed-down cousins of dragonflies in the order Odonata—are elegant creatures, but the Fragile Forktail (Ischnura posita) is in a class by itself. Is it the name alone that makes me think so? Fragility can make anything—whether it’s a bug or a piece of furniture—seem more graceful and refined; and the Fragile Forktail’s minute size and extreme thinness often give the impression that it’s only a breath away from expiring. But for me, its elegance lies more in color than in shape: in the male, a cool and restrained arrangement of black and green; in the female, a … Read moreRead More
When I’m outside in early spring, I find myself not so much longing for the sight of something green as lusting after the color yellow. The rich yellow on a Meadowlark’s breast, the goldshine of Dutch Master daffodils, the chalky yellow of Forsythia flowers—these slake something so strong that it feels like a physical need, a thirst that’s built up inside me all through winter’s greyness. But maybe nothing satisfies that thirst better than Bloodroot, a wildflower native to eastern North America, with its stand-up yellow stamens surrounded by the brightest of white petals. My first sight of Bloodroot in … Read moreRead More
I. The photo This all started at the end of September 2019, when a friend emailed me a photo she’d taken of a Black-legged Meadow Katydid. My friend and I are birders, and we share a subsidiary interest in butterflies and dragonflies. But katydids? I’d never seen one, so had never felt the urge to pursue and photograph them in the way I did those other creatures. As soon as the photo appeared on my computer screen, I was fascinated. A katydid looks something like a grasshopper, but a grasshopper whose various body parts have all been struck by a … Read moreRead More