Fungus Schmungus #8

I found a bunch of these mushrooms near our yard under a large pine tree. They are called Chicken Fat Mushroom or Suillus Americanus. They always grow near an Eastern White Pine and nowhere else. They are a type of bolete mushroom which has pores on the underside of the cap rather than gills. Boletes… Read more »

Red-tailed Hawk Down

Last week, my husband found a young red-tailed hawk at the edge of our driveway. The raptor had a wound on his neck and was covered in flies. I took a video while we waited for Iowa Bird Rehabilitation to arrive. She was there within 15 minutes, threw a small blanket over the bird,… Read more »

Fasten Your Van Allen Belts

Last night I saw the Northern Lights in Iowa which is not usual for us, but was due to some large solar flares. The first photo below is in my backyard which is close to city lights. The second photo was taken in the countryside north of Des Moines.   I uploaded two videos as… Read more »


Bob and I stopped at the Bass Pro Shop aquarium in Springfield, Missouri. They had a large number of interesting exhibits, but the Sea Nettles (a type of “true jellyfish”) were fascinating to watch. I made three videos which are on my YouTube channel. and “True jellyfish” are: Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Cnidaria (nih-DARE-ee-uh) which… Read more »

Naming Snails

I saw several of the same type of terrestrial snails on a trail in a wooded area. I had a difficult time identifying the snail because many species of look very similar. A malacologist (a person who studies snails) uses several different criteria besides shell coloring. I narrowed the type of this snail down to… Read more »

Fungus Schmungus #7

Another mushroom discovered on my dog walk. The scientific name of this one is Coprinus comatus (coprinus means “of dung” and comatus means “hairy”). This mushroom is also known as the “shaggy inky cap.” It is edible in the “shaggy” white phase, but within 24 hours it digests itself and becomes the inedible “inky” stage…. Read more »

Deer Eating Mulberries

I was sitting at my kitchen table when I saw this small buck in our back yard, eating mulberries off the tree.

Dobsonflies and Dragonflies

I found this insect crawling on the ground near the Mississippi River. It was about four inches long. I had never seen one of these before.  My research showed that it was a dobsonfly larvae which would normally be underwater. Maybe a bird plucked it out of the water and dropped it. Anyway, a dobsonfly… Read more »

Polyphemus Moth

While walking our dog, Webster, I saw this moth resting on a sidewalk. Amazing the things you can see in your own neighborhood (but you will miss them if you’re looking at your phone). I posted a photo of a luna moth coccoon and pupa in August 2022. I found it in the same area… Read more »

Fungus Schmungus #5

I saw this turquoise colored mushroom on a dead oak leaf in early spring.  I looked it up and it is called the green elfcup (scientific name chlorociboria aeruginascens). Normally, it is found on dead trees and sticks. Don’t eat it. Very poisonous. Despite the scientific name the blue-green coloring does not come from chlorophyll… Read more »