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It’s In Your Nature: Nature’s beauty, in my eyes

January should only have about 20 days, not 31. I find it to be my gloomiest month. Its nasty biting winds, cold days, even colder nights, and shorter daylight hours all drop January lower on my most loved list. Even after a few days of diligent birding at month’s onset, I may not add another new species to my annual list for another 30 days. Most ponds are ice covered and if snow covers the ground, after a day or two of thawing and freezing, I can’t even walk quietly in the crunchy snow. It’s hard to sneak up on a bird, fox, or deer in those conditions. But I do venture out. You never know, there just may be a rarity or two pushed south from even more harsh winter conditions to our north.

What I often do now is return to my saved photo folders on my laptop to review some of the things I got to see and photograph in less harsh conditions.

Maybe seeing a few of these nature beauties will “warm you up” a bit and remind you that April isn’t too far away. Well, maybe longer than we want, but let’s think warmer.

Hope you can enjoy them and hurry January along.

Test Your Outdoor Knowledge: What is the largest bird in North America? A. Trumpeter swan; B. Snow goose; C. Wild turkey; D. California condor; E. Canada goose.

Last Week’s Trivia Answer: Sadly, only 45 nesting pairs of barn owls are known in Pennsylvania.

Email Barry Reed at breed71@gmail.com

ABOVE: There are many beautiful duck species: Wood ducks, and this male hooded merganser, must head nature's waterfowl beauty list. BARRY REED PHOTOS
Many hunters and outdoorsmen/women see the beauty in a mature stately “whitetail” buck, but a 2-week-old fawn is a beauty in its own right.
It's hard to ignore a male bluebird in its freshest spring plumage as a list topper.
Think warm when you see a male rose-breasted grosbeak at your backyard feeder or the woodlot across the street.
Beauty can be found in insects, with neat vein patterns and compound eyes, this widow dragonfly and other dragonfly species, gain respect as well. BARRY REED PHOTO
Think of the warming mornings in May when on your hike through Penn Forest Township reveals sheep laurels in bloom with their gorgeous flowers.
Stunning and looking intense, this male chestnut-sided warbler may be feeding on insects just above the sheep laurels and you, on one of your exciting May hikes.
Also about the same 6-inch size of the chestnut-sided warbler, and often feeding close together, is another warbler “beaut,” this male blackburnian warbler.
Just when the August doldrums get you down, an afternoon hike along Pohopoco Creek finds you looking at beautiful cardinal flowers among the plain weeds and sedges.
LEFT: How could a female great egret not get enraptured by the showy nuptial plumage of a male whose reflection in the shallow cove make it double inviting?
This past June I found this male indigo bunting sitting in enough sunlight to really enhance his brilliant plumage.
Every adult eagle invokes some awe when I glimpse one. Our majestic American symbol still ranks high on my nature beauty list.