Clearwing Hummingbird Moth

While enjoying a summer flower garden, have you ever been surprised by the sudden arrival of a dwarf-sized hummingbird, smaller than any you've ever seen before? Chances are, it's not a bird at all, but rather is a "hummingbird moth," a member of the Sphinx Moth family (Sphingidae) and quite possibly the common and widespread Clearwing Hummingbird … [Read more...]

Bobolink Song-Fantasia

"A bubbling delirium of ecstatic music that flows from the gifted throat of the bird like sparkling champagne." What an apt poetic description of the Bobolink song from the pen of ornithologist Arthur Cleveland Bent (1866-1954). The exuberant notes produced by the male seem otherworldly in quality and bring to my mind the silly sounds produced by … [Read more...]

Carolina Wren – Alarm Calls

We have a pair of Carolina Wrens nesting in a gutter next to our porch overhang. Quite often, the male sits on the nearby limb of an oak and sings his heart out. So today I decided to videotape his singing performance. I set up my tripod and camera and within a minute or two he showed up, giving one song from a very nice-looking perch, and then … [Read more...]

Snowy Tree Cricket – Nature’s Thermometer

Perhaps the most familiar of our tree crickets, the Snowy Tree Cricket (Oecanthus fultoni) is a species whose chirp rate can be used to estimate the temperature. One popular formula is to count the number of songs given in thirteen seconds and then add that number to 40 to yield the temperature in Fahrenheit. That’s seems easy enough, so why not … [Read more...]

Nature Cinépoetry as Art

With today’s release of Buggin’ Fun as a NatureWatch video vignette, I hereby leap into the realm of nature-oriented “Cinépoetry." This is an art form where poetry is combined with cinematography and sound in order to produce a unified multimedia composition. I hope you like my first experiment (please let me know what you think by commenting … [Read more...]

Buggin’ Fun

Buggin' Fun" ... that's a new phrase that I've coined. It refers to how much fun it is to "go bugging" ... that is, to go lookin' for bugs and other neat stuff. Everybody does that, right? Or at least kids do that, right? Well, this kid definitely likes to go buggin' ... especially in midsummer, when insects of all sorts come into their own. Let me … [Read more...]

Sun Mallow

Early one morning not long ago, while videotaping dew on Musk Mallow (Malva moschata) petals, I noticed sun reflections from a small trickling brook in the background. With great care, I positioned my camcorder in order to capture the miraculous play of light as it interacted with the flower. I am quite pleased with the result, which combines my … [Read more...]

Wood Thrush – Forest Flautist

Lee-o-lay-o-lee, will you come live with me, away high in a tree? ... that's how I describe the Wood Thrush's singularly beautiful song. Starting with soft grunts (heard only at close range), the flutey song usually rambles upward and then terminates with a variable trill. Each male has about a dozen different song patterns, some sounding very … [Read more...]

Finding My Way Home

Before launching into a somewhat heady blog post about my two-month absence from, here is a little tidbit, an ambient nature recording I made a few days ago in nearby Shindagin Hollow. Blue Jay, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Red-eyed Vireo, American Crow, Ovenbird, Scarlet Tanager, Wood Thrush, Veery, Rose-breasted … [Read more...]

Red Fox Screams

Here's a really amazing recording! This morning at 5:15am, as I walked out on my front door on my way to my car, a nearby Red Fox (I think) suddenly began giving loud barking screams, set against the dawn chorus. I was so very lucky to get this documented. My recorder was in my car, so I had to scurry to my car, hook up my parabolic mike, and … [Read more...]