Tag Archives: trees

Stretching for dinner

Last week I was out at Chiricahua National Monument in southeast Arizona.  One thing that caught my eye was this Arizona white-tailed deer (Artiodactyla: Cervidae: Odocoileus virginianus couesi).  After spotting me at some distance it seemed bashful and hid for a minute. Once … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Manzanita

Found throughout large areas of the North American west, manzanitas (Arctostaphylos spp., Ericaceae) are common inhabitants of chaparral and other arid shrublands and woodlands. Made up of dozens of species, these woody plants grow as bushes or small trees and can be … Continue reading

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Random Fungi: Turkey Tails and Kin

One of the most common forest fungi in North America is the turkey tail (Polyporales: Polyporaceae: Trametes versicolor). Found year-round on decaying hardwood trees and sometimes conifers, this mushroom gets its common name from its colorful, fan-like similarity to the tail of … Continue reading

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Stopping by Ponds on a Sunny Evening

The other day on my way home from work I stopped at a nearby pond to find a number of Ring-necked Ducks (Anseriformes: Anatidae: Aythya collaris), Canada Geese (Anseriformes: Anatidae: Branta canadensis), and Red-winged Blackbirds (Passeriformes: Icteridae: Agelaius phoeniceus) hanging out around the water. The … Continue reading

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Redwood National Park Revisited

Back in 2013 a friend and I made a quick trip through Redwood National Park in northwest California. Our visit here was too short, so last summer when my wife and I were in the area we made a point to spend … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Bigleaf Maple

Although I’ve seen bigleaf maples (Acer macrophyllum, Aceraceae) a number of times in the Pacific Northwest, it was their fallen leaves on my past trip that really caught my attention. Littering the ground east of Portland, Oregon they decorated the landscape with their … Continue reading

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Crater Lake National Park

Around 7700 years ago the Oregon volcano known as Mount Mazama exploded in one of the most devastating eruptions known to man. Blasting about 3000 feet (914 m) of material from its summit, the ash fell as far as western Wyoming … Continue reading

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Olympic National Park

It seems impossible to summarize the diversity of Olympic National Park in one photo. Spanning over 1441 square miles (3732 square km) in northwestern Washington, this park encompasses some of the most varied terrain in the entire US National Park … Continue reading

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The Least-Visited National Parks in America’s Lower 48 (and why you should visit them) Part 2

Last week I presented “The Least-Visited National Parks in America’s Lower 48 (and why you should visit them).” I later realized that most people focus on the “most” or “least” of something, and that often leaves out the “next most” … Continue reading

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The Least-Visited National Parks in America’s Lower 48 (and why you should visit them) Part 1

Although the United States has over 400 locations administered by the National Park Service, there are only 59 that are official “national parks.” Of these 47 are located in the lower 48 states and are relatively accessible. Most people know … Continue reading

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North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park is only three hours northeast of Seattle, but its remote location makes one of America’s least-visited national parks. Established in 1968, this federally-protected area encompasses 789 square miles (2044 square km) of mountain wilderness in the Cascade Range of … Continue reading

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Autumn comes to Michigan

Although the hardwood trees have begun to change color here in southeast Michigan, they haven’t quite reached peak color yet. For better color a friend and I drove north a few hours to Huron National Forest and spent a couple of days … Continue reading

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Grand Teton National Park

Just south of Yellowstone National Park in northwest Wyoming is one of the most exquisitely beautiful locations in the entire United States. Here serene waters, thick forests, and lush meadows provide a haven for a vast amount of wildlife, all … Continue reading

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Glacier National Park

Two mountain ranges, 25 alpine glaciers, and over 700 lakes contribute to the rugged and beautiful landscape of Glacier National Park. Located in northwest Montana along the border with Canada, this park preserves 1583 square miles (4101 square km) of soaring … Continue reading

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Wind Cave National Park

On the surface Wind Cave National Park looks a lot like the surrounding areas of South Dakota. Rolling hills and plains blanket a landscape filled with various plants and wildlife, but the real treasure of this park lies beneath the surface. With over … Continue reading

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Random Insect: White-spotted sawyer beetle

Found throughout conifer forests of North America, white-spotted sawyer beetles (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae: Monochamus scutellatus) are economically important tree pests. They attack several species of pines (Pinus spp., Pinaceae) and spruces (Picea spp., Pinaceae) as well as balsam firs (Abies balsamea, Pinaceae), often … Continue reading

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Devils Tower National Monument

If you’re like me you first learned about Devils Tower National Monument from the 1977 sci-fi adventure film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Although fictional space aliens helped popularize this location for many people, the natural and cultural features alone … Continue reading

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Plant-Insect Interaction: Carpenter ant on a red maple

Carpenter ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Camponotus spp.) get their common name from the habit many species have of nesting within wood. Many nest within trees, and some species are considered pests because they attack buildings. Carpenter ants don’t eat wood, however, they … Continue reading

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Canyonlands National Park

A large, maze-like wilderness of rocky mesas, cliffs, canyons, and rivers, Canyonlands National Park protects an amazing region of southeast Utah. Established in 1964, this park features breathtaking views, imposing landscapes, a fascinating range of geologic features, as well as a variety of … Continue reading

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Bryce Canyon National Park

A wonderland of fiery rock formations mixed with rich evergreen forests and meadows, Bryce Canyon National Park preserves some truly amazing natural features in southern Utah. First protected in 1923, this park is perhaps best known for having one of the largest … Continue reading

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