365 Nature – Day 41

In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Each day of the year I will post something here about nature. It may be any format, a photo, video, audio, sketch or entry from my nature journal. It could be a written piece. Each day I will connect to nature in some way and share it here by the end of that day. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to the RSS feed or be notified by email. See all the 365 Nature posts.


When my daughter was born I entered the world of children’s books. As a naturalist I gravitated towards books with a nature theme and I was pleasantly surprised at how many there are. Over the last four years we’ve read many, many picture books and quite a few have ended up on our shelves permanently. Recently I was looking at our library loan history…

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Book Review:: Real Gardens Grow Natives

518XvBKJTwL._SX410_BO1,204,203,200_We’re lucky to live in a region with bountiful books on creating wildlife habitat and Pacific Northwest gardeners now have one more choice to add to their bookshelves. Real Gardens Grow Natives: design, plant & enjoy a healthy northwest garden by Eileen M. Stark is the latest offering on this topic. The book is packed full of useful information and focuses not only on creative a landscape  using native plants for wildlife, but delves deeper into more detailed content such as the soil, propagation and sharing the benefits of native plants.

Stark gives a useful overview on ecology and explains some key ideas such as ‘habitat’ and ‘diversity’. The first chapter explains the elements of habitat – from water and food to the benefit of dead trees. With the groundwork laid, Stark moves swiftly onto the basics of design and…

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Book Highlights 2013

This post was originally published on Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens.

This year I had the opportunity to read several excellent books ranging in topics from vampire squids to garden insects. Here are five of my favorites, some which are older, some newer, but all very interesting.

The Urban Bestiary

830eaa3251c03fc3142a1562e93c3708 (1)Lyanda Lynn Haupt
Little, Brown and Company
September 17, 2013

When I heard the author of one of my favorite books, Crow Planet had a new book in the works I was very excited. This new book was as fascinating and really fun read. It’s written in the form of the ancient bestiaries and features a great many urban animals that we admire, hate, see and don’t see. There is a great deal of information about each animal featured, some of which you will find very surprising. The author…

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Nature Picture Books:: As The Crow Flies

All day long you’re on the go, you don’t have time to watch a crow…

So begins one of my favorite picture books, As the Crow Flies, by Sheila Keenan and illustrated by Kevin Duggan. Crows are one of my favorite birds, they are fascinating and beautiful to watch. We are lucky to have a couple of sizable crow roosts here in the Seattle area. We’ve been to watch them roost a couple of times and our house is right along one of their nightly roost routes. Needless to say, I was thrilled when we chanced upon this book at our local library. After renewing it the maximum number of times, I had to purchase it because we loved reading it so much.

This book perfectly captures not only the wonderful, and amazing variety of crow behavior, but our own attitudes to them as well. Crows are undoubtedly…

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Nature Picture Books:: Lizi Boyd

Over the last two and a half years I’ve read a staggering number of picture books to my daughter, a large percentage of them nature themed. In this new column feature I’m going to highlight some of our favorite authors, series and individual books.

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One of my favorite books to look at has no words at all, it’s called Inside Outside (affiliate link) by artist and author Lizi Boyd. The book alternates from scenes indoors to scenes outdoors, following a boy, his dog, cat and turtle. Each page has cutouts integrated into the scene which reveal the next page very cleverly bringing the outside, inside and back again.

Nature abounds in all the scenes and even on the inside pages you’ll see paintings of birds and drawings of plants on the walls. Outside the…

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Book Review:: Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden

9781604693881lAs one who spends a fair amount of time crawling around my yard in search of interesting insects, I was, needless to say, excited to see a new book from Timber Press with the title Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control. It’s written by horticulturist and self-proclaimed ‘bug lover’ Jessica Walliser. With a quick glance through the book, it’s easy to see it’s up to the typical high standard of Timber Press books and full of wonderful and inspiring images of beautiful bug-friendly gardens.

As this is not a typical sort of book that gardeners might be drawn to, (usually it’s more along the lines of how to get rid of bugs instead of attract them) Walliser makes several confessions in the introduction which states how she came to love…

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