Author Archives: David George Haskell

Tussock moth caterpillar

A White-marked Tussock Moth (Orgyia leucostigma), one of the more festive of our caterpillars. They have a catholic diet, eating both evergreens and deciduous trees, a feat made possible by their robust gut chemistry. The caterpillars not only use their … Continue reading

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The oldest church in the United States?

The stained glass window above the altar at the church of Santa Catalina de Guale: Stained glass? Indeed: Sabal palm fronds are strengthened by silica. Glass and chlorophyll. Mission Santa Catalina de Guale was the northernmost permanent settlement of the … Continue reading

Posted in Trees | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Skunk babies on the move

What comes here? A writhing ball of hair on twenty feet. (With apologies for the window-blurred photos.) A mother striped skunk with her brood. The youngsters huddled around her, keeping their flanks pressed to one another. The whole mass trundled … Continue reading

Posted in Mammals | Tagged | 13 Comments

Sand tracks

“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is a story of the earth.” Rachel Carson, writing in Holiday magazine, 1958. From the curving beach of St Catherines Island, another blog post in the … Continue reading

Posted in Insects, Rocks, Travels, Turtles | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

Loggerhead sea turtle necropsy, and a second chapter

A memento mori, delivered from sea to sand, from Poseidon to Psamathe. The turtle washed onto the Atlantic shore of St Catherines Island. Given the parlous state of sea turtle populations, every breeding adult is important, so a vet from … Continue reading

Posted in Turtles | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Palm tree saxophones

When the sea first exposes the roots of sabal palms, a fuzz of sand-gripping tentacles wiggles in the air: Then, after the tree has been felled by beach erosion, the roots are snapped and abraded, revealing the butt of the … Continue reading

Posted in Trees | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

(Bunny)exp(milk)

Meet Twofer and Leftie, the exponential bunny orphans. Born at 30 grams, under the care of the miracle-working Queen of Cudzoo Farm they’ve now shot up to 240+ grams, and growing… Twofer: Leftie: Leftie a few weeks ago, still in … Continue reading

Posted in Mammals | 7 Comments

Bass Rock gannets

A view from the bull’s eye of the target, right before the release of a uric acid/digested fish bomb. The splattering impact is impressive. The smell lingers. 170,000 gannets (with 75,259 nests) make their summer homes on the Bass Rock, … Continue reading

Posted in Archosaurs | 10 Comments

Puffin launch

An Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica) pounding the sea with its feet as it builds enough speed to get airborne. I photographed this bird near the Bass Rock in southeastern Scotland. Puffin wings are designed both for rapid aerial flight (exceeding … Continue reading

Posted in Archosaurs | 10 Comments

Waiting for feeding time…

Six weeks on, Cassia’s quads have healthy appetites and like to wait for dinner (lait en bouteille, servi chaud) in comfort. Two bucks on the left (Redbud aka Buddy, and Badger Boy); two does on the right (Anemone aka Me-Me … Continue reading

Posted in Goats | 12 Comments