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It’s In Our Nature: What is it?

I try to never go anywhere without my camera and binoculars. If I plan a longer trek for a mile or two, my rucksack goes across my shoulder to hold those items, along with a field guide or two, and even a small plastic bottle to hold an unusual “bug” or two for later identification. Most of the time my camera is used to record whatever I find. I have selected a few photos taken in the last year or two here in the Times News area. They include both plants and animals or wildlife signs.

My hope, whenever I pull together my column, is to make you aware of what great natural things we have around us. I truly believe that “time on task,” spending as much time as I can outdoors, gives me the opportunity to find some neat things. Sometimes, as my birding buddy Dave says,” Right Place, Right time.” Let’s see if your outdoor knowledge or travels have given you the opportunity to see most or all of the flora or fauna that I’m quizzing you on today. Remember, all of these could be found close to where we live, hike, or “bird.” Hopefully in your lifetimes, you can have some great sightings. Keep those eyes and ears open.

Today, on an errand or two, I drove by a tree where a bald eagle commonly perched. Sure enough, he/she was using that same snag to overlook the Pohopoco Creek. Every eagle sighting seems to give me the same thrill as the first one. Keep those eyes and ears open for the majestic eagles, or just some tiny flowers, caterpillars, tadpoles, or fungi that you may have overlooked in this faster paced world today. Just get out there.

Test Your Outdoor Knowledge: All plants and animals use respiration to survive. Respiration releases carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere, just as burning fuels do. What chemical process takes carbon dioxide from the air to make food? A. transpiration; B. photosynthesis; C. combustion; D. regeneration.

Last Week’s Trivia Answer: Deer have excellent night vision, average color vision, but unlike owls, also have a tremendous sense of smell.

Answer pool: Beaver lodge, skunk cabbage hoods in spring, snapping turtle, millipede, centipede, muskrat lodge, red-spotted newt, Indigo bunting, Eastern bluebird, stink bug, wild turkey scratchings, milkweed pods and seeds, spotted lanternfly nymph, river otter, Eastern tent caterpillars, gypsy moth caterpillars, mink, tree swallows, and painted turtle.

Correct answers: 1. Spotted lanternfly nymph; Skunk cabbage hoods; 3. Tree swallows; 4. Red-spotted newt; 5. Milkweed pod and seeds; 6. Centipede; 7. Eastern tent caterpillars; 8. Indigo bunting; 9. Snapping turtle; 10. Muskrat lodge; 11. Wild turkey scratchings; 12. Mink.

Email Barry Reed at breed71@gmail.com