A friend’s facebook status recently said, “…beauty awaits when you are ready, only to be missed when you’re not.” True. So true. Such is the case as my splotchy, amphibious friend pictured here. Mind you, I’m rarely out of bed before 7 am. None the less, this was my reward for doing some last minute pre-vacation gardening at 6:30 am. Even before having my morning coffee! The cute Gray Tree Frog was perched in the crease of a daylily leaf and apparently thought he was hidden. Ohio’s gray tree frogs are masters at changing colors and may be found in many shades of gray or even browns and greens. It is a bit unusual that this one strayed so far from source of water. I’ve never seen one in my yard before so I’m even more grateful to have met this little guy. You can listen to and read more about Ohio’s tree frogs HERE.
Another such find was this not-so-hidden nest of House Finches. The nest was built in plain sight in a wreath hanging on a front door. They fledged the next day. House finches are not native to the Eastern United States. It is reported that in 1940 they were captured illegally in California by New York pet dealers and fearing prosecution, the birds were released on Long Island.
There’s an app for that
Ever since I was young, I have enjoyed books with facts and photos. Our family’s World Book Encyclopedias were well used by the time I left home. I grew up with the Golden Book field guides and continue collecting field guides of all sorts. Apparently I’m showing my age here because I often prefer holding the ‘written word’ in my hand rather than heading to the computer. That being said, it is interesting to see some of the exciting new trends in nature identification resources.
Thanks to my son, I have discovered that there is a Smartphone app to help identify trees. Simply by photographing a leaf, the app called Leafsnap instantly searches a growing library of leaf images amassed by the Smithsonian Institution. In seconds it returns a likely species identification, high-resolution photographs and information on the tree’s flowers, fruit, seeds and bark. Users make the final identification and share their findings with the app’s growing database to help map the population of trees one mobile phone at a time.
Leafsnap debuted in May, covering all the trees in New York’s Central Park and Washington’s Rock Creek Park. The iPhone and iPad app has been downloaded more than 150,000 times in the first month, and its creators expect it to continue to grow as it expands to Android phones. By this summer, it will include all the trees of the Northeast and eventually will cover all the trees of North America. I’m thinking this is one more thing to help rationalize the purchase of an iPad. 🙂