Sunday, December 29, 2019

2019 in Pictures

I take a lot of pictures throughout the year and not all of them make it into a blog post. At the end of the calendar year, it’s a good time to reflect on the beauty of nature as well as share some of the extra pictures.

I believe that each day is an opportunity to find and appreciate something beautiful in the native plants and creatures of Georgia. The photos above include a fanciful "2" from a scarlet oak leaf, a sand dollar from my trip to Jekyll Island, a black swallowtail caterpillar from a friend's house, and an interesting look at a sweetgum ball that shows the seeds and some tiny bits of chaff.

In January I went up to North Georgia to scout a field trip location to a waterfall. I thought this moss was pretty unusual and it's always nice to see something green in January. Early February was a trip to a place with white ash (Fraxinus americana); I looked for seeds on the ground to confirm it (the seeds are slightly different from our more common green ash).

In March I was working in an area of my garden when I spotted this green tree frog, our state amphibian (Hyla cinerea). It always amazes me when I find new things after 16 years. April brought the delightful blooms of a fragrant crabapple (Malus angustifolia) and one very happy Eastern tiger swallowtail who enjoyed them for hours.

In May, I celebrated the beautiful blooms of nettle-leaf sage (Salvia urticifolia) in my garden. I first saw this plant on a BotSoc field trip and asked around until I found someone selling it. In news of the wild and weird, I happened upon this wasp who specializes in capturing spiders for her young. This was in June; she does paralyze it first but the poor thing looked quite sorry to be dragged to her lair.

Critters are a special part of the natural environment. This year, in July, I saw the first fox in our yard. She had 3 kits with her but they were moving too fast for a picture (learning how to chase chipmunks). This was our second year having the piebald deer - it's a boy! This picture was taken from my neighbor's yard in August; they liked to treat him to corn in the evenings. We haven't seen him since so he may have moved on.

I was visiting a friend's house in September when I saw this gorgeous native Clematis viorna seedhead. So many colors! A moment of nerdness for October, please: I've been trying to find a New York ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis) in my area so that I could learn to distinguish it from giant ironweed 
(Vernonia giganteaand in October I finally did. Those elongated phyllaries are the difference.

November brought a bright spot of color when I found this meadow katydid on a very dull thistle seedhead. Those blue eyes are quite something. A day in December on a plant rescue allowed me to find two different praying mantis egg cases so I used them for a side by side comparison picture. On the left is the more round, 3-dimensional egg case of the Chinese mantis. On the right is the flat, almost 2-dimensional case of the Carolina mantis.

I wish you a Happy New Year, full of beautiful and productive encounters with our native wonders. For more pictures, you can also follow me on Instagram:


  1. I do much enjoy your photos and observations! I wonder if you might like to contact either Panola Mountain State Park or Arabia Mountain Park and see if you could give a talk about nature. I would be the first one to sign up!

  2. That deer is amazing! What a unique encounter!