The Raleigh Naturalist

December 30, 2010

Best Views, Best Intentions, 2010

Glory in the Morning. all pictures by John Dancy-Jones
 All pictures click to enlarge

It has been a slow year at Raleigh Nature, squeezed by my Meniere’s Syndrome, classroom teaching, other online interests, and gardening.  Here are some nice images from 2010, some with notes on the separate posts I would  liked to have written with them.  Thanks for checking in and we’ll keep plugging.  Have a great one!

snowy trees on White Oak Road, December 2010

 The snowy holidays were great fun and a white Christmas seemed like an enticing treat from the Climate Change Coming. We are still working on raising food year round at the Person Street urban homestead and the chickens have been a spectacular success and my best excuse for not being out in Raleigh nature.

Esperanza, our combless Aracauna, with her friends, out for a stroll

Fall pond at Oak View Park

I am truly grateful for Get To Know a Park, since I would rather concentrate on out of the way places, but there are still plenty of park rows to hoe.  Besides Oak View, there is a small new one on Honeycutt Road, and little gems like Hymettus Woods at Wade and Dixie.  One of my biggest regrets of 2010 is not getting over to the new section of greenway emerging by the beltline on House Creek, where I have been specifically invited by a reader (lo siento 😦 ) 

Fall colors at Oak View

boulders in Cemetery Branch at Brookside Drive

Cemetery Branch

Crabtree on east Buckeye Trail

There is always a lot of nature lore to explore, and 2010 was no exception.

woad blue mold after heavy rains

Raleigh Swamp mallard hen

sunlit slider on Middle Crabtree

my TFA science classroom's pet box turtle


Oakwood hawk with a diappointingly invisible captured squirrel

biggest gall yet!

snapper in the Wilmington creek beside Dorian's apartment

There is a lot I would like to cover from my travels outside Raleigh as well. The Maine post went well, but my mountain traveling has been heavy, and there is always just sooo much to tell.

Boulders on 64 in western NC

rock sculpture at UNC-A's Botanical Garden

ballon from rest stop on 40

Bass Harbor, Maine

There are so many things happening with parks and green amenities in Raleigh.  I had hoped to write about the beginnings of the Neuse River trail, which starts at Fall Dam and eventually hits Anderson Point, the river’s intersection with Crabtree.  This wonderful, under-used park has been the source of many a stimulating walk and deserves multiple posts.  Halfway down that trail (where it joins the existing one) is Raleigh Beach and the Milburnie Dam, which is up for possible removal.  Now THIS topic I would have preferred to address at Raleigh Public Record, and I may yet (the project is on a back-burner currently).

Milburnie Dam

raccon midden at Milburnie Dam (hat for scale)

Happy New Year and here’s hoping again for an invasive species page, a record trees map and more straight street pieces in 2011 – and if we’re lucky, Marsh Creek Part II !           Love,  John


June 29, 2008

Maple Sequence and Snapper Loose!

Filed under: Nature Lore, turtles — Tags: , , — raleighnaturalist @ 10:46 pm

This post was originally published May 4, 2008.

Check this out.  I have been watching this particular red maple on Hardison Drive in Quail Hollow all spring.  What amazing red color from the early samsaras, which emerge and mature before the first spring leaves.  Cool shift through orange as the helicopter seeds slowly lose out to the foliage.



Snapper Loose!

 So last week my high school teacher assistant, Randall, a senior helping with my 6th grade science class, brings in a turtle.  Except this turtle made my day, entertained almost my entire school population, and impressed the heck out of us all.  He was huge!  For a 6th grade classroom, anyway.  My students of all ages were in awe as I lifted him from the back and displayed the gaping, snapping mouth and long sharp claws.  By day’s end I had little claw marks all over my hands. On the other hand, this snapper was weary and disgusted.  I promised Randall I would find a nice spot to release him. (Randall had hooked him by the leg with a casting line and hauled him out of the lake in his backyard, where he certainly was not expected back). I though of Blue Jay Point, where I have released ailing box turtles and morose sliders.  I thought of Lassiter Mill, where I have seen, just as I mentioned in the recent post on that subject, animal control officers release unwanted specimens.  This was a big, dangerous turtle ( though they do get over twice this size), and I decided I wanted an undeveloped stretch of water.  Crabtree on the east end of Buckeye Trail was the obvious solution.  Snapper could climb up the bank into the Marsh Creek marsh by Yonkers Road, or float on down to Anderson Point and find the Neuse River, with lots of side choices along the way.

So I wrestled him back into his tub one last time and drove to Milburnie Road and parked.  As I got out, a small peculiar lady with four young children came ambling down the road.  I spoke to them and explained I was a science teacher who could share something interesting if they had a minute.  The kids were appropriately aghast and entertained, but Mom had other ideas.

” You don’t mean you going to turn that turtle loose!  You can give that turtle to me.  I’d love to have it.”

Now even if it wouldn’t have been crazy to give a strong, heavy, dangerous reptile to a small woman with four small kids, I knew exactly why she wanted it, and I was having no part of it.

“You just want to cook this turtle!  I’m going to turn it loose like I promised Randall.”

 And the woman just wouldn’t let go of the idea that I might give her this turtle.  She wanted it badly.  She and her kids watched as I started off down the greenway, lugging the tub.  They started on down Milburnie, but were clearly watching through the trees.  So rather than turning him loose in the small tributary right next to Milburnie, as I had planned, I heaved and puffed with the tub all the way down to Crabtree.  I set him on the grass and took these photos.  Then I slid him down the bank and took the video linked below.

I was right proud of myself as a Baby Boomer teacher who has embraced the 21st century, because I was able to show my students ( and especially Randall) this video post on Pecans & Mistletoe, my nature projects blog, the very next day.  They didn’t have to trust my account, they could watch this turtle go into Crabtree.  Hope you enjoy it as well.

 Snapper Loose! video

December 19, 2007

My Life with Turtles

Filed under: About & reflection, Nature Lore, turtles — Tags: , — raleighnaturalist @ 5:17 pm

Tsnapper-at-fletcher_1_1_1_1.jpgurtles have been an obsession for a long time.  The contemplative stare of a turtle can really make you think. Time I spend around them is time connected to prehistory.



December 18, 2007

Personal picks

Filed under: About & reflection, Nature Lore, turtles — raleighnaturalist @ 7:20 pm

Raleigh Swamp hawk & Snapper. One is free. I hope the other one is happy. Who can say?

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