Category Archives: Nature Study

The natural world from the seashore to the mountain tops.

The Texas Stream Team

My participation on the Irving Green Advisory Board has made me aware of how little I know about the environmental aspects and activities of Irving, Texas. To remedy this, I’m taking advantage of every opportunity to get involved in local activities. Continue reading…

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This Week at Hilton Pond (1-14 January 2014)—#588—“Wood Duck Nest Boxes: Attracting Our Most Colorful Piedmont Waterfowl”

Figure 1. A hen Wood Duck, Aix sponsa (see photo), kept one eye on the photographer
and the other on her 13 just-fledged ducklings paddling about on Hilton Pond. (Photo copyright Bill Hilton Jr.)

The ball falling in Times Square last New Year’s Eve also signaled the beginning of our 33rd year at Hilton Pond Center, and this week’s 588th installment of “This Week at Hilton Pond” marks the 15th year for my Web-based photo essays Continue reading…

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This Week at Hilton Pond (22-31 December 2013)—#587—“2013 Bird Banding Results: Better Than Last Year, But Still Below Average”

Figure 1. A male Prothonotary Warbler—only our 17th banded at Hilton Pond since 1982—was the most uncommon species banded locally in 2013. (Photo copyright Bill Hilton Jr.)

I was away from Hilton Pond Center on many occasions during 2013 and that—coupled with bander illness and a general dearth of birds—led to a year of below average banding success. Continue reading…

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This Week at Hilton Pond (1-7 December 2013)—#585—“Wandering White-throat: A Long-lived Sparrow Meets Its Demise”

Figure 1. White-throated Sparrows, Zonotrichia albicollis (see photo), breed primarily in Canada, but many individuals migrate to the southern U.S. to spend the winter. (Photo copyright Bill Hilton Jr.)

Ever wonder why I devote so much time, energy, and thought to bird banding? In part it’s for the rush (and scientific validation) I get when notified one of “my” banded birds has been encountered at a faraway locale. Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Biology, General Interest, Nature Study, Observation, Ornithology, Photography, Wildlife | 1 Comment

This Week at Hilton Pond (1-30 November 2013)—#584—“Ujarráscals In Costa Rica: Hummingbirds Among The Chayote”

The first half of November I was in Costa Rica’s Orosi Valley for our 22nd Operation RubyThroat citizen science expedition to the Neotropics. Mist netting and live-trapping operations were centered at Ujarrás, a riverside agricultural community whose cash crop is Chayote–a squash that flowers prolifically and whose nectar is sought by hummers and other avifauna. Continue reading…

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Citizen Science Musings: Christmas Citizen Science

Image:  blog.lib.umn.edu

One of my earliest experiences in what we would today call “citizen science” was participating in the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Continue reading…

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Instrument Platform

The sensors for my atmospheric observatory need to be mounted somewhere they can have unobstructed access to the sky and weather. The solution is a platform located away from buildings and trees. The platform is built using the same materials and construction that one would use to build a deck for a house. For the legs I buried four 12 foot treated posts … Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, DIY, Meteorology, Nature Study, Observation, Sensors | 1 Comment

Watch Polar Bears, Live

About 900 polar bears gather at Cape Churchill in Manitoba every fall waiting for Hudson Bay to freeze over so they can begin their seal hunting season on the ice. (explore.org)

“Not very many people will have opportunity to ever go see a polar bear in wild,” Wright said, so the polar bear cam is a way to connect the world to these charismatic animals “and hopefully intrigue people to want to learn more.” Continue reading…

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Scuba Divers Build Species Data Network

This is an image of a Lionfish shared on Diveboard by diver Jamie-Lee Thorpe. Credit: Jamie-Lee Thorpe

Species observations from thousands of scuba divers all over the world are now freely accessible via the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Biology, Community, Environment, General Interest, Marine Biology, Nature Study, Oceanography, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Reviving Science of the Victorians

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In the 19th century, periodical science journals were filled with laypeople’s submissions – and their observations of plants and animals were immensely useful to Charles Darwin. Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Biology, Botany, Climate, Entomology, Environment, History of Science, Nature Study, Projects, Publishing | 1 Comment