11/29 Raptor

Red shouldered hawk wearing a bit of mouse on her beak.

As birdwatchers know, being inside a car is one of the best ways to get up close to birds. And luckily I didn’t jump right out of mine after parking at the Louisville Nature Center last week. Leaning over to rummage for gloves, I caught a glimpse of quick movement – and there she was on the trail sign with a just-caught mouse. Read More

11/19 The Year in Turtles

First boxie of the year

Now that the last Box turtle has gone underground, it’s time to update my turtle data book. It’s a project I started in 2013, when it became clear there were quite a few boxies in this forest. It was just a couple years since we began major invasive plant removal, and I was spending a good part of every day working in the forest. In the most favorable areas, such as low moist sites near water, I was encountering a really surprising number of Box turtles. Considering this is a bottomland littered with fallen trees and stumps, the habitat should be excellent. But is this the only reason for the abundance of boxies? It occurred to me there is another important factor. This little 80 acre fragment is bordered on two sides by a deeply channelized creek, and buffered on a third side by a large park. Though completely surrounded by the city, the box turtles here are relatively sheltered from one of their greatest threats – cars. Read More

10/30 Fall and Rise



Another tree is dropping out of this little ecosystem. Though ash trees (genus Fraxinus) will still grow from seed and become saplings, nearly all older trees here will die and fall within the next ten years. In health, before the Emerald ash borer (EAB) arrived, they likely accounted for 40% of the canopy. As with the American chestnut and the American elm, the disappearance of these pillars of the community will have a profound effect on eastern forests. Read More

10/20 On Her Own



The Red-shouldered is a forest hawk, smaller than the Red tailed hawk but larger than the Cooper’s. Find a bottomland forest with an open understory, near water, and there you may see them. Fortunately their habitat needs are a perfect match for this little forest, so the noisy calls of at least one resident pair can be heard throughout the year. And they’re successfully raising young too – yesterday I was lucky enough to see this young Red-shouldered hawk apparently off fending for itself. Read More

10/13 A Long Dry Spell


This Streamside salamander was burrowed down deep in the roots of a Spicebush I was watering.

Now that some rain has come, I have time to write about the lack of it. Instead of endlessly hauling jugs of water by wheelbarrow, up and down the trail to stressed plantings. Those of you living in dry and drought prone places are used to this, but here in the humid state of Kentucky, the hottest and driest September on record was tough. Particularly following the longest wettest period anyone can remember, during which we planted hundreds of native trees and shrubs. Like a stock market afflicted with irrational exuberance, it felt like the party would never end… Read More

9/15 P-Berry and the Edge



If I ever start a band, that could be our name. And we’ll climb over every obstacle to reach the top, ’cause that’s what P-berry does. But of course we couldn’t do it without the Edge, and the legions of unwitting fans who enable our success. If any of this makes sense to you, then you already know Porcelainberry, Ampelopsis brevipedunculata – that urban scourge of a grapevine with the crazy colored berries. Read More

8/22 Mostly Pictures

Spicebush Swallowtail larva exposed – it stays hidden inside a folded Spicebush leaf, pulled tight  by a silken web.

Another summer’s worth of images are piling up, and as usual I can’t work the best of them into just one blog post. Besides, no matter what story line I come up with, sometimes the best story is just a picture. So here goes – the summer of 2019 in one little forest – the visual edition.  Read More

8/11 Turtle Tracking


Why is Adam Haas so happy? He’s just found his first transmitter-equipped Box turtle, and it wasn’t easy! The IU Southeast student works at a wildlife rehab center in Indiana, and is one of two “turtle trackers” you may see in the forest this summer. Adam and fellow tracker Nolan Sawtelle are assisting their professor, Dr Omar Attum, in a radio telemetry study of female Box turtles – the first ever at Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve. Read More

8/2 Native Plant and Butterfly Walk


Spicebush Swallowtail larva

And it’s tomorrow! And it’s free! (Sorry about the short notice).

If you’ve been enjoying all the pics of butterflies on flowers, come out and see the real ones. Hummingbirds are here too, in the Jewelweed. Hope you can join us!

“Native Plant and Butterfly Walk”  Saturday 8/3   9:00 – 10:30
Join Naturalist and Forest Steward Rosemary Bauman to explore native plant restoration at Beargrass Creek SNP and how it’s benefitting pollinators. We will walk about 1/2 mile on the Red Maple trail, with lots of stopping to enjoy the flowers and insects. Butterflies are at their peak populations, so it should be a good show!
The walk is free to the public and sponsored by Wild Ones Louisville.

7/31 My Tiny Urban Wild


This is my front yard…


This is what’s happening in my front yard…


Some people say all this vegetation growing freely in my front yard makes the place look like it’s abandoned, like nobody lives here – I beg to differ!

Check out the new video from my friends Richard and Jody at the Beargrass Thunder show (featuring me, with a short cameo appearance by Squawk the Caique parrot).


And while you’re at it, check out all their other great videos: