I just love this name: the Spiny Cream Spider Flower! This shrub grows up to about 6 feet tall, in the outback of Western Australia. It usually flowers twice per year and its leaves are slightly prickly and finely divided. Straight white hairs line the branches and the fruit looks like wrinkly green bean seeds.

spiny cream spider flower western australia flora grevillea anethifolia bush shrub outback plants

Esperance Wildflowers
Western Australia Flora
Atlas of Living Australia
Plant This

If you like to watch meerkats, you’ve got to check out this website devoted to their cousins, the banded mongoose!

banded mongoose research project website support

The Banded Mongoose Research Project website

The Iberian Lynx is the world’s most endangered species of wild cat.

iberian lynx pardinus europe endangered species arkive videos wild cats

Watch videos on ARKive
Wikipedia entry

Have you heard of Honeycomb Weathering, which produces this unique honeycomb rock?
Learn more by clicking the pic and links below!

honeycomb weathering rock face cliff overhang limestone

EarthCaching on Geocaching
NW Geology Field Trips

This animal is NOT a lizard!! It is a living dinosaur called a Tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus).

tuatara reptile unique new zealand endemic living dinosaur

Learn about this amazing creature:
San Diego Zoo
Wikipedia
New Zealand DOC
A-Z Animals

The Regal Horned Lizard, Phrynosoma solare, lives in the desert areas of the southwestern United States and Mexico. It eats mostly ants, and it is immune to ant venom. When disturbed by a potential predator, this little lizard squirts its own blood out of its eyeball with precise aim, targeting his attacker’s face. Apparently this blood has some type of odor or taste that repels the predator. Click the links below the video for more videos, pics, and information on this crazy critter with its unique defense!

Discovery Channel Video
SW Center for Herp Research
California Herps

Blood Squirting Lizard!

Up in the rugged, unforgiving mountains of Scotland, can any wildlife make a living? This BBC free full-length documentary film is presented on YouTube by AnimalLife. In these Scottish hills, we see that red deer and pine martens join many hardy bird species such as black-throated divers, hooded crows, ptarmigans, and reintroduced sea eagles. Follow a family of divers from a late second laying to the fledging and beyond. And follow the migration of salmon to the highest points in the river. At the end of the film is an entertaining filming diary.

This appealing little fungus, Geastrum quadrifidum, is a type of Earthstar. Some people call it the “four-footed earthstar”, more due to its vertical dancing posture — on its toes — rather than to the NUMBER of “feet” it has. Click the links below the pic to see the development and variety of this widespread earthstar’s forms, while learning more about its habitat and other specifics.

rayed earthstar fungus earthstar mushroom geastrales geastrum quadrifidum

Encyclopedia of Life
Rogers Mushrooms
Mushroom Observer
Rayed Earthstar
Slideshow on YouTube

Bird Tracks and Sign can be just as interesting and diverse as with mammals!

bird tracks and signs website link review nature tracking

 
Animal Tracks — Birds
 

When my children were young, our family knew mallows as “cheeses” because their seeds come in a fun little package similar to a cheese wheel. The seeds are edible, so we used to hunt them down and have fun opening up the little wheels and crunching on the nutty little seeds. They are tiny, so this was more for fun than for nutrition. Common Mallow, Malva sylvestris, has one of the broadest geographical ranges of all mallows, and is also heavily researched for its medicinal properties. Many cultivars of mallow are also available for your gardening pleasure.

Malva sylvestris common mallow north american world wildflowers medicinal pink purple

Encyclopedia of Life
iNaturalist
Nature Gate
SEINet — Arizona Chapter
Permaculture – UK

Can you spot the quarter? Underwater Viewer

Here’s something for all ages: Make your own underwater viewer!

make your own underwater viewer can you find the quarter

Continue reading

I love liverworts! There are almost 9000 different species in the liverwort division of the plant kingdom, Marchantiophyta. Most hug the ground or other substrate they are growing on, but there are many, many varieties to keep the botanical mind guessing. Some day, I would love to create my own little bryophyte garden — tiny plants like mosses and liverworts. What fun! Add a few little frogs or sallies, insects, worms, a misting system… and you have your own little microhabitat! 😀

liverwort marchantiophyta thallus green plant hugging ground

What is a liverwort?
Backyard Nature: Liverworts
Introduction to Liverworts
Liverwort Images

As with many species of fungi, this one has no official common name. It is Lactarius uvidus, what I am calling the Purple-Staining Milkcap. This species thrives in North American and European forests around birch, aspen, spruce, and willow trees. The cap is either flat or indented, and it gives off a milky secretion that turns purple or lilac wherever it sticks on the fruiting body. Click the links below to find out more about this interesting fungus.

Lactarius uvidus lilac staining milkcap milky mushroom north america europe aspens birch willow forest fungi

Wikipedia   |   EOL
Mushroom Expert
First Nature
Rogers Mushrooms
Mushroom Observer

Native Americans used the peeling bark of the paper birch, Betula papyrifera, as a waterproof covering or even container (such as a drinking cup or ladle). This hardy tree forms beautiful stands of white-bark trees from the southeast United States, across to Alaska. It is absent from the southwest, but extends far north into Canada. The serrated edge leaves appear alternate on the branches — or in groups of 2 or 3. In the spring, the dangling male catkins are about 3 inches long, female about half that length. The tree produces winged fruits in late summer or early autumn.

Betula papyrifera paper birch peeling white bark north america

What Tree Is It?
Illinois Wildflowers
KEW Botanical Gardens
Missouri Botanical Garden

The blue milk mushroom, Lactarius indigo, can be found in North America, Central America, and East Asia. An edible blue mushroom — who’d’a thunk it?!!

blue mushroom Lactarius indigo milky america edible beautiful fungi unusual unique nature

More Info on this crazy species:
Mushroom Expert
Rogers Mushrooms
Morel Mushroom Hunting site

The Pied Butcherbird, Cracticus nigrogularis, has an AMAZING song! And if that wasn’t enough for this Australian songster, he also copies songs of other birds and even imitates human sounds!

Cracticus nigrogularis pied butcherbird birds australia song melodious copycat black and white feathers

Click play to hear this bird’s amazing song. You may enjoy this duet! 😀

Read more on iNaturalist
Handbook of Birds of the World
Birds in Backyards
Critters of Calamvale Creek

Besides protecting its more than 5000 komodo dragons found nowhere else on the planet, Komodo National Park in Indonesia features over 250 species of coral builders, over 1000 species of fish, plus sponges, sharks, dugong, lobsters, sea turtles, mangroves and seagrass beds, and Timor deer. The park includes three major islands and 26 smaller ones, spread out in the middle of the Indonesian archipelago. Click the links below to explore this natural resource.

komodo island dragon national park indonesia unesco biodiversity hot spot

Komodo National Park website
UNESCO
WWF Global
Wikipedia

Super short: Dwarf Mongoose leaping!

Dwarf Mongoose Leaping

The Green Spore Parasol mushroom, Chlorophyllum molybdites, is poisonous and can often grow in backyards and forest “fairy rings”. Watch the video and explore the links below to educate yourself and your loved ones about this common fungi.

Fungus of the Month
Urban Mushrooms
Mushroom Expert

POISONOUS Green Spore

CHEEK Scent Marking?

I have been able to find very little on this so far Continue reading