eBotanical Prints – July 2019

Sixteen books added to the list of botanical ebooks collection this month. The are all freely available on the Internet. The whole list of over 1,700 books can be accessed here. Sample images and links for the 16 news ones are provided below. (click on the sample image to see a larger view) Enjoy!

There is quite a variety this month – trees, mosses, wildflowers, mushrooms, pitcher plants and roses. A lot of plant types to savor.

Forestry handbooks * Maiden, Joseph Henry * sample image * 1917

Species muscorum frondosorum V1 * Hedwig, Johannes, Schwagrichen, Christian Friedrich * sample image * 1801

Species muscorum frondosorum V2 * Hedwig, Johannes, Schwagrichen, Christian Friedrich * sample image * 1801

British Wild Flowers * Loudon, Jane Wells Webb * sample image * 1846

The ladies' flower-garden of ornamental annuals * Loudon, Jane Wells Webb * sample image * 1840

Watercolor Album * Passmore, Deborah Griscom * sample image * 1911

Field book of common gilled mushrooms * Thomas, William Sturgis * sample image * 1928

Illustrations of British mycology V1 * Hussey, Thomas John, Mrs. * sample image * 1847

Illustrations of British mycology V2 * Hussey, Thomas John, Mrs. * sample image * 1855

Illustrations of North American pitcherplants  * Walcott, Mary Vaux; Wherry, Edgar Theodore; Jones, Frank Morton * sample image * 1935

Journal des Roses  (yr. 18-20, 1894-1896) * Cochet, M. Scipion * sample image * 1896

Journal des Roses  (36-37, 1912-1913) * Cochet, M. Scipion * sample image * 1913

Journal des Roses  (33-35, 1909-1911 ) * Cochet, M. Scipion * sample image * 1911

Journal des Roses  (1897 ) * Cochet, M. Scipion * sample image * 1897

Journal des Roses  (1880 ) * Cochet, M. Scipion * sample image * 1880

Journal des Roses  (1903 ) * Cochet, M. Scipion * sample image * 1903

June Yard Work – Round 1

I was out in my yard by 7:30 AM one morning this week. My husband had requested that I pull all the milkweed in the front flower beds. I agreed even though it probably means that there won’t be a Monarch (caterpillar) nursery at my house when the butterflies arrive in our area. There were day lilies and black-eyed susans growing around most of the plants so pulling them would not leave the ground bare. I took before and after pictures of three areas. Having the milkweed gone makes quite a difference!

I pulled the plants trying to get at least some of the root. There will probably be other milkweed plants that will come up since most of the plants came out with only a bit of the root right under the stem. Milkweed can grow new plants along their horizontal roots (i.e. a ‘stand’ of milkweed might all be the same plant). I also learned last year that cutting milkweed just causes it to grow branches. Hopefully I can continue to pull the tiny milkweed plants that emerge, and the front flower beds will look more traditional this summer.

After I was done pulling milkweed and grass from the flower beds – I carried the pile back to the forest. Before I went indoors, I took some pictures:

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An insect on a leaf.

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A tiny mushroom in the grass.

Flower parts and drowned insects in the bird bath. I cleaned the birdbath and refilled it before I went inside. It’s more visible now that the milkweed is gone.

Gleanings of the Week Ending April 6, 2019

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

BBC - Future - What happens when we run out of food? – Even in the US, nearly 12% of households re classed as being food insecure; more than 6.5 million children go without adequate food. And the whole food system can be disrupted very easily by war and very bad government all around the world.

Refugee women have healthier pregnancies than US women -- why? An unhealthy US culture: For African refugee women, acculturation may negatively impact health -- ScienceDaily – I was surprised that the researchers did not explore the idea that maybe the value of early pre-natal care is overrated for people that are generally healthy when they get pregnant since the refugee women tended to not start pre-natal care until their 2nd trimester.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Migration – National Geographic Society  - Birds are migrating through our area…we’re seeing more robins…and the juncos will leave soon to go further north. These pictures feature birds from around the world…that are migrating.

Hospital disinfectants should be regulated like antibiotics new study suggests – It’s not just antibiotics that drive antimicrobial resistance…it’s disinfectants (particularly in hospitals) too.

BBC - Future - The unexpected magic of mushrooms – New items made from fungus...replacing some kinds of plastics. It’s good that fungi are so plentiful on the planet – exceeding the biomass of all animals.

An Island Apart – Acadia National Park’s Isle ad Haut. A very different experience from Mount Desert Island

Beautiful cherry blossoms photos – Our cherry tree is in bloom right now. I guess cherry trees are enjoyed around the world very year about this time. There is a picture of the cherry trees around the tidal basin in Washington DC included in the pictures.

Green tea cuts obesity, health risks in mice: Follow-up study in people underway -- ScienceDaily – More research needed…. but I am enjoying green tea already (my favorite is a blend with mint).

Make A Home for Wildlife – Cool Green Science – Some ideas for creating an oasis for wildlife --- it doesn’t take much to help pollinators or birds!

Why did Flamingos flock to Mumbai in record numbers this winter? – 120,000 flamingoes…that’s a lot of birds!

Zooming – October 2018

The fall foliage had not been as colorful as usual this fall…but there has still been a lot to see outdoors – aided my the zoom on my camera: Canadian geese, a common buckeye butterfly, webs of funnel spiders on a root ball of an overturned tree, colorful ferns, milkweed seeds spilling out, tiny mushrooms in mulch, a spider web highlighted by water droplets, and a female cardinal with fluffed feathers. Enjoy the slide show!

Ten Little Celebrations – October 2018

Glorious fall – even if our leaf color is the least spectacular of the 30+ years I’ve lived on the east coast. All my celebrations this month were outdoors!

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Hiking in the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area after heavy rain – lots of mud but my boots handled it well

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Bald Eagles – the serendipity of seeing them soaring over a shopping center parking lot

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Common Buckeye in a native plant garden on a sunny day

Mushrooms and cobwebs at Centennial Park…spectacular on a foggy morning

Finding a crawfish and hellgrammite in the Middle Patuxent River with high schoolers. We were all very cold but managed to still find some interesting critters.

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Fifth graders with clipboards and pencils on a BioBlitz at Belmont.

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First graders enjoying a hike on a cold fall morning (seeing a immature black rat snake)

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Finding a spotted salamander with a group of 7th graders on a BioBlitz at Mt. Pleasant

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A rainy day in the Middle Patuxent River with high schoolers – and realizing that the students were pleased with the macroinvertebrates we found. They came dressed for the rain!

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A long hike from Belmont to the Patapsco Valley State Park Avalon area – getting all my steps for the day in less than 3 hours

Mushrooms at Centennial Park

On the foggy morning I spent at Centennial Park last week, I found some tiny mushrooms in the raised bed across the pathway from the boat rentals. They were growing in the mulch and were ‘fruiting’ because of the very wet conditions we’ve had recently. Some were very hard to spot because their color’s were not that different form the mulch – and they were small. I stood far enough back so that I could use the zoom to photograph them without climbing into the mulch.

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There were some birds nest fungi that were mostly empty nests although a  few of the ‘eggs’ were still nearby.

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My favorites were brightly colored like these very small red mushrooms (note there is a centipede just to the left of the mushrooms).

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My favorites were some tiny orange mushrooms with yellow stalks and edges. They seemed to be glowing – standing out in their drab surroundings.

I walked over to some pine trees near the parking lot while I waited for my husband to finish his brisk walk around the lake. There were some larger mushrooms coming up through the pine needles.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are coming up all over. The moisture we got in September evidently provided optimal conditions for the fungi to put up fruiting bodies.

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On the way home from Belmont last week, I stopped along the road to photograph an embankment with visible mushrooms.

As I got closer I discovered some that were not quite as visible. There were at least three different kinds. The largest ones, that were in all stages of development, were what I saw first. The started out as white then began to darken and crack like meringue. Finally, the cap splits. There were some that were still just pushing up – still almost concealed by pine needles.

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There was one that was almost the same color as pine needles.

And puffballs that were in all stages of development.

When I got home, I noticed a large one at the base of a neighbor’s tree. I put my macro lens beside it to show the size and then took a picture of the surface with the lens; it looked like a topography map with rifts between the brown patches!

Neighborhood Walk – August 2018

I started out about 7:30 AM. The temperature was in the mid-70s already and the humidity was high. It was better than waiting until later when the forecast was for 90 degrees. The birds were quiet again; it was well after sunrise. I did see a robin with a grub (or caterpillar).

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The storm water pond sometimes has egrets or herons…but not on this morning. The frogs were noisy at the pond although I didn’t see them. It seems like there were enough of them to attract the herons as they have in previous years.

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I did notice two dragonflies flying over the pond attached to each other – the male clasping the female behind the head. He landed on some grass in the pond – too low for them to complete the ‘wheel’ that is the next phase of the mating choreography. I didn’t stay long enough to see the finale.

A female purple finch (white eyebrow) flew to one of the dried reeds.

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On the way home there were quite a few mushrooms in one yards – on both sides od the sidewalk. They were not all the same kind either. I wondered if the owners had done something in that area that made it good for mushrooms since I didn’t see others during my walk.

I returned home – ready to be in the air-conditioned house for the rest of the day!

Baltimore Birding – part 3

We continued our Baltimore Birding experience with a walk around Fort McHenry the next morning. It was mostly sunny and warmer. Even with the better light and no rain – I saw more birds than I managed to photograph. I’m featuring the ones that say still long enough for me to get the camera in position. There were quite a few Great Crested Flycatchers (I remember seeing one in my back yard last year about time…posted about it here).

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There were American robins in the grass.

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The small birds moved around rapidly in the trees. I think this one is an orchard oriole.

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I photographed mushrooms when I saw them. The mulch was support several groupings….and a sycamore stump had a collection of small shelf fungus.

There was a grackle aggressively defending a trash can at the front of the visitor center.

There were mallards about. There was a female that looked calm for the moment…the males were being very aggressive.

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There was a ‘mixed breed’ duck…probably mallard and a domestic duck of some kind.

There were some sycamores along the path that did not look healthy. I wondered if salt water incursion was happening through the seawall around the fort….or maybe they are all the same age and getting old. I took a picture of one that already had its top gone; there was a knot with leaves sprouting at about eye level with ‘wrinkles’ on all sides – almost like skin.

We headed over to a marshy are beside the fort…and I managed to finally get a picture of a one kind of swallow we say: a tree swallow. We saw barn swallows on our walk as well.

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Overall our Baltimore Birding experience provided a different perspective on the city. I would guess that birding in just about any city would have the same results. Maybe it is something we should do more often….although the amount of trash (particularly in the water) is always depressing.

Baltimore Birding – part 2

Continuing from yesterday’s post….

We continued along the Gwynn Falls/Middle Branch trail and it seemed to get darker and wetter. Here were mushrooms coming up in the grass beside the path.

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My husband held the umbrella while I took a picture of a yellow warbler and

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Some very wet flowers.

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The cedar waxwing only showed up in silhouette.

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We walked out of the trail and closed the loop back to the cars along the street. Under some bushes beside a fence – a common yellow-throat was busy in the mulch.

We got back into the cars and continued to the Middle Branch Park boathouse. We trooped over the wet grass to paved paths were full of puddles. I was glad I’d worn my boots! I saw a Baltimore Oriole and managed to photograph an orchard oriole.

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The last bird of the day was a kingbird that seemed to pose for pictures – moving to show both sides.

Tomorrow I’ll post about our birding around Fort McHenry.

Gleanings of the Week Ending February 17, 2018

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

Who’s still smoking: Report highlights populations still at risk -- ScienceDaily – I rarely see people smoking these days. The overall smoking rates in the US has dropped from 42% in 1965 to 15% in 2015. The analysis of the types of individuals in that 15% reveals that there are populations vulnerable…and that novel interventions will be needed to further reduce smoking in the US.

Top 25 Wild Birds Against Spectacular Landscapes – National Geographic Blog – I’m thinking about birds even more than usual this weekend – participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count!

Being A Homebody Has A Surprising Environmental Upside | CleanTechnica – I know that I used less gasoline and don’t spend as much on clothes as I used to when I went into the office every day….evidently there are enough people that are working at home or retired that the energy savings is significant. Now to just make the energy we use at home skew further toward the renewable variety!

Magnesium makes chromosomes: A new chemical tool, MARIO, shows how free Mg2+ ions regulate chromosome shape -- ScienceDaily – Some work by Japanese researchers. They note at the end of this blurb that this new understanding about magnesium may be a piece to the puzzle of how cancer happens…and maybe treatment.

LASER SCANS REVEAL MAYA “MEGALOPOLIS” BELOW GUATEMALAN JUNGLE | National Geographic - National Geographic – more than 60,000 houses, palaces, elevated highways, and other human-made features….under the jungles of northern Guatemala. The civilization peaked some 1,200 years ago and was comparable to ancient Greece or China. There were probably 10-15 million people in the area too – far more than previously estimated. The LiDAR also revealed pits from looters.

Woodpeckers show signs of possible brain damage, but that might not be a bad thing -- ScienceDaily – Analysis of woodpecker brains from collections of the Field Museum and Harvard Museum of Natural History. The picture with the article is of a downy woodpecker…one kind of woodpecker we see in our area.

Mushrooms Are Good for You, But Are They Medicine? – The question is still open…but they taste good so why not enjoy them even if they aren’t medicine!

Another Kind of Migration: A Visit to Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve – National Geographic Blog – I just found out recently that they’ve planted milkweed at all the schools in our county…and will be monitoring to make sure it thrives…a little action to help the Monarch butterflies as they come through our part of Maryland on their way to Canada.

Surreal Images of Frozen Niagara Falls at Night by Adam Klekotka – Winter eye candy.

Black Lung Study Finds Biggest Cluster Ever of Fatal Coal Miners’ Disease: NPR – So sad. It’s happening to younger miners than it used to; ‘improvements’ in mining equipment? This is probably another reason we should move to renewable energy as quickly as we can.