How I became a backyard novice naturalist.

Prior to 2004, I had never fed a bird, paid much attention to butterflies or picked up a camera except for vacations and holidays.

pond and wetland woods

The first weekend we were in this new house a hawk landed on the deck rail and I had to find out what kind of hawk it was.

sharp-shinned hawk

That was the beginning of a middle-aged second childhood  investigating and photographing what I find around the pond and wetland woods. I always had a love for nature stemming back to summers at our cabin, but I didn’t like getting my hands dirty and was kind of afraid of most things crawly.

monarch butterfly

I have identified 62 species of birds around the pond and woods and now I am working to identify some of the other residents. I hope to catalog various amphibians, reptiles, butterflies, dragon and damselflies and other insects as I can photograph and identify them.

mallard duck with her ducklings

My non-gardening husband and I are slowly turning our yard into a native plant wildlife habitat. As I become more educated on the importance of native plants and especially plants native to western New York state, we are replacing non-natives with natives.

In 2011 we had our yard certified it as a Monarch WayStation with milkweed and flowering plants for monarchs and other butterflies. This past summer I raised monarch butterflies from eggs and released them. And yes, I had to get my hands dirty.

ruby-throated hummingbird

The photos were taken by me unless otherwise indicated. I  had used a Canon Powershot S2 IS and a Canon EOS  450D (Rebel XSi) but found them too heavy to carry around with me so I got a small Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 (14.1 MP 20x Optical Zoom) which I can carry in my pocket.

For me taking photos is light-hearted fun, not serious work. I want to share the joy I find in nature more than taking the perfect photo. Please don’t use any photo without permission.

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me fairy

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The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost (1915)

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference