Roses and Red Foxes: Wildlife in Howard County

Wildlife spottings all around Howard County:

Hawk, heron, groundhog, and rabbit spottings are in abundance now. Deer and chipmunk spottings are increasing.

Dayton, MD:

I saw a red fox at my grandpa’s house.

Centennial Lake:

Lots of rabbits, a deer, a groundhog, a great blue heron, and a chipmunk were spotted on Monday the 10th. I also saw a baby turtle but it swam into a murky spot before I could get a picture.

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WILD FLOWER SPOTTINGS:

Centennial Lake
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Favorite Local Places: Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary

I’ve been there twice now and it is a beautiful BEAUTIFUL place. I first went with my environmental science lab class and we got a tour of the marshland. Our guide could talk with a passion about the place forever and the passion was contagious. I really suggest booking a tour. The guy is also hilarious. It’s a must see place and a must-go trip.

Jug Bay has an enormous amount of wildlife to see. On my two trips I’ve seen lots of osprey, bald eagles, herons, sand pipers, snipes, a coot, turtles, muskrats, snakes, laughing gulls, and red winged black birds. Geese too unfortunately. If you go in the fall, Jug Bay is a hot spot for migratory birds.

Here is their website: http://www.jugbay.org/

They have Osprey nests with webcams on them which you can watch live on the website.

Here are some pictures from the trip.

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That little bird shaped speck is an osprey. There are a lot of Osprey there.

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there were a lot of little tadpoles swimming right there. You can kind of see a swirming mass of little brown things.

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Cypress tree 🙂

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Cypress tree at wider angle

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knees of the cypress tree 🙂 so cooooooolllll

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These are pictures from my second trip to Jug Bay. Some friends and guests went kayaking and canoeing there.

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For fun picture I took of the bathroom and snack area in negative

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the little dark spot near the shore is a muskrat

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paddler of canoe to my front

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paddler of canoe behind me

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me seated in the middle of the canoe between the people showed above

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friends in canoe that caught up to us

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friends in kayaks behind us

Red Foxes: Dayton, MD (Update)

I have been up the road a few times in the last month and there has been plenty to see. All the cow farms have their beautiful cattle out and about grazing. The resident snow goose is still at it’s little pond on Tridelphia Rd. BUT, there have been other spottings.

I’ve seen Cedar Waxwings, some Herons, plenty of turtles, a snake (black I think), a beaver (up close but not personal), and a red fox.

The Cedar Waxwings, Herons, turtles, and snake were at Big Branch Recreation Area. Herons, turtles, and the beaver were at Pig Tail Recreation Area. The red fox was on Tridelphia Rd just up the hill from the pond that the snow goose lives in. The red fox was seen lurking around during the day too. My dad says that’s weird behavior for foxes.

Oh, I saw a hawk in Glenelg a little over a month ago. The part of Glenelg I’m talking about isn’t too far from Dayton. It was in the trees about 50 feet from Olde Time Liquors. Some crows had something to say about him lurking around though.

Spirit: _ by Nick Brandt

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I don’t know if these husks were attained by poaching or not.

If they were from poaching… How does this happen? How can you change the minds of someone who thinks this is okay?…

If they weren’t, then a powerful picture but I’ll remind those what this picture reminded me of: Endangered animals like Elephants are hunted and killed everyday by poachers. Many times it’s because these poachers are in dire straits due to poverty and hunger and this is a way to eat or make money through trading in the black market. I would hope i wouldn’t do anything like that if put in the same position… It’s crazy to think about. You never know.

Source: http://earthandanimals.tumblr.com/post/50442081404

Red Foxes: Raccoon Prints Feild Guide

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This is a Raccoon print. Obviously the right foot is clearest. My battery died before I could take more pictures of other good examples. Raccoon prints dotted the stream shore here (where I’m typing this) at Howard Community College. I was with a few friends cleaning up the stream near Deer Run when my Environmental Science teacher, one of the women with me, pointed this first set of tracks that we saw. After that, we saw them everywhere. That and deer prints after a bit. Deer prints have what looks like two big toes and you c an sometimes see the clear impression of the hoof, the sharp edges of it. Here, with raccoons, you can see clear impressions of five toes and clearly definied toes on each of them.

Book Reviews: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver

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This book, title and authors in Post Title, is absolutely amazing. It’s about a family spending one year deciding to eat nothing but local food, whether from the farmer’s market or from the farm land on the farm they move to. It includes miles of information on currant environmental issues, information about the food we do and can eat and where it comes from, helpful hints and handy information on gardening/farming and raising livestock, and best of all it also includes recipes. The diversity of the information provided, coupled with humor as well, is what I love about this book. It’s not just informational, like a textbook, but ties it into a real story.

Description from the inside jackets of the book and copy and pasted from Goodreads.com.

“Bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver returns with her first nonfiction narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.

“As the U.S. population made an unprecedented mad dash for the Sun Belt, one carload of us paddled against the tide, heading for the Promised Land where water falls from the sky and green stuff grows all around. We were about to begin the adventure of realigning our lives with our food chain.

“Naturally, our first stop was to buy junk food and fossil fuel. . . .”

Hang on for the ride: With characteristic poetry and pluck, Barbara Kingsolver and her family sweep readers along on their journey away from the industrial-food pipeline to a rural life in which they vow to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Their good-humored search yields surprising discoveries about turkey sex life and overly zealous zucchini plants, en route to a food culture that’s better for the neighborhood and also better on the table. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle makes a passionate case for putting the kitchen back at the center of family life and diversified farms at the center of the American diet.

“This is the story of a year in which we made every attempt to feed ourselves animals and vegetables whose provenance we really knew . . . and of how our family was changed by our first year of deliberately eating food produced from the same place where we worked, went to school, loved our neighbors, drank the water, and breathed the air.”

A librarian reccomended it to me and I now reccomend it to you. I thuroughly hope you enjoy and love this book as much as I did and reccomend it to your friends too!

Red Foxes: White and Blue Herons at Centennial Lake, Ellicott City

I’ve been to Centennial Lake the last three mornings in a row and everyday I saw at least one Heron.

The first day, Monday August 20th, I saw a great big Great Blue Heron and the White Heron my dad had seen one day in Dayton. I was taking a break from running when I heard that squawk of theirs and ran back to an opening in the trees to see out to the water, got a glimpse of the blue one and ran to the next break in the trees where it had been flying towards and saw it go by this little island of trees squawking louder now. Then thats when the white one flew out of its spot in the tree to make way for the big blue one and picked another spot. It was amazing but I couldn’t see them perched in the tree from where I was. I kept on walking and found them when I got to the other side of that part of the lake. They were just perched their, looking around, cleaning their wings, hanging out. It was such a beautiful sight.

The second day, Tuesday August 21st, I didn’t see the blue one but I did see the white one again. I spotted it first from this bridge by a tunnel. It’s white feathers stuck out like a big ball of snow against the grey sky and dark green leaves. It was perched in the same tree as the day before but higher up. I watched it from where I had before as it cleaned its wings and just sat there.

Today, Wednesday August 22nd, I saw at least two herons, maybe three, and all were Great Blue Herons. I didn’t spot the white one today but I got a really close up view of two of the Blue Herons. I was walking along this long stretch of flat and open trail by the water when I heard that squawking again and turned around to see two Great Blue Herons flying up to th path, one sweeping low to the waters edge and the other kept going up and up and to the other side past a line of trees. I quietly walked down closer to the water to spot the one that had landed there and I found it. I stood there for a good couple minutes maybe watching it before it flew off. A little later I was by the little wooded island where I had seen the Herons the past two days and spotted a heron again, perched in a nearby spot. Now, I couldn’t tell you if it was a different heron or one of the ones I saw earlier but it it was, it was going to be the one that flew over the path that I didn’t get the greatest view of. The one that had landed by the water was smaller than the one I saw later perched in a tree. It was an amazing sight none the less.

If you live in the area, I definitely suggest going to Centennial Lake to take a look around. I was there from 7am to 830am. I don’t know how often you see them there later in the day.

Great Blue Heron photo source: http://www.fws.gov/chesapeakebay/heron.html

White Heron photo source: http://mainethroughthelens.blogspot.com/

 

Favorite Local Places: Howard County Fair *Special Edition*

Sorry, folks, I didn’t get pretty much any pictures for what I’ll be talking about.

On Sunday, the second day of the fair, I went down at about 8:30 in the morning and stayed till four.

First, I went to see the Draft Horse and Mule show. I didn’t stay very long because I wanted to see the Vintage Auto show too but I got a great look at some Percherons’ (French Draft Horse. They were absolutely beautiful. Of course, another reason I wasn’t too excited to stay was that I’m still getting over my fear of horses.They had started lining them outside the ring and that was making me nervous. The only reason I even went was because, though a young adult book series and consequently looking up the type of horse they talked about, I grew to really like Percherons. I’m trying to get over the fear, but it’s hard.

As I said, I went to see the Vintage Auto Show next which was amazing but then I went to see the exhibit they had on Honey Bees. I got to look at a Live Honey Bee nest and talked with a lovely woman named Ruth for a good while about Honey Bees and other stinging insects, about different types of honey, about how you become a bee keeper and about being a bee keeper. I also bought two sample tubes of honey with flavors I hadn’t had before; blackberry, meadowsweet (which is supposed to have a marshmallow flavor), and a South American variety which is supposed to have a caramel flavor (and I’ve tried it and it so does).

Then I went to a 4-H Activities Hall and talked to two people about nature centers/parks I could visit in Howard County, to a person about the HERP project where they ask volunteers to send in and take pictures of reptiles and amphibians so they can track populations throughout the state of Maryland till 2014. I’ve sent some pictures in already but it gave me a chance to see some pictures of what I should be looking for and where to find them. Also, I talk to Master Gardeners (a program or community of highly experienced gardeners you ask help and advice from). I got some advice to protect against stinkbugs (wire mesh around the plant, a light clay spray you can get at farm stores that needs to be replaced after a rain, and getting tiny kids (from the family) to literally remove the bugs from the plants as a fun activity and pay them a penny per stinkbug). The clay spray seemed best to me because they said most bugs, including stink bugs hate the little film of clay on the tomatoes (you have to spray it on the tomato itself) and that the wire mesh you would put around the plant would restrict it’s growth. The spray easily washes off after you’ve picked it. Though you have to replace it after every rain, I think it’s the best option unless you have a LOT of tomatoes and then, maybe I would go with the mesh.

The rest of the fair for me was buying cool stuff (I’ll post about the places later when I find their business cards) and eating (Jobe’s Bit Beef was amazing though I got Pit Turkey and their XXX hot barbacue sauce and Tiger sauce was AWESOME, the tiger sauce being mayonaise and horseradish). Oh, and the family and I walked through the barns holding farm animals.

I highly suggest the Howard County Fair for anyone in the area. It’s a five dollar entrance fee and the food is expensive but they do have a lot of free activities. The expensive food can be pretty freaking great and they have bands and amusement park rides at night. Check it out!

The Howard County Fairgrounds are in West Friendship, MD.