Don't Forget to Look Up!

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Most of the time, while doing my daily walks, I will be observing things from my height and perspective which is pretty close to the ground. However, many surprises have occurred to me over the last year because I have on occasion – looked up!

Each day I have my binoculars handy in case I hear or see something that is unfamiliar. Always on the lookout for a glimpse of the wildlife. Often when I am not prepared special things happen.

On a recent morning, down by the creek, I stopped to observe the activities of the fish in the water. I was looking down naturally but began to hear an unfamiliar sound coming from above. I looked up and there was a large groundhog in the branches above my head. It was perched precariously in a mulberry munching berries and very upset by my presence. I never would have guessed I could find a groundhog in a tree but there it was! I learned something new at that moment.

Some years back I remember a long and exhausting day of work and when it was over I came home and immediately disappeared to the "Back 40" for some peace and quiet. There was a bench in a little grove of trees far from the house and I was looking forward to getting to it to regain some peace of mind. I was so tired I just laid down on the bench and upon looking up, not far above my head, was a hornet's nest. No quiet time for me – I was out of there!

Just a few weeks ago on an early evening walk, I was rounding the path down from the east hillside and when the house came into view and with it the sight of 10 Turkey Vultures perched in the big old sugar maple beside the house. It was an eerie sight against the darkening sky. I love these interesting and necessary birds but they did give me a shiver. When I regained my composure, I tried to sneak back into the house unnoticed to get my camera. A few had flown off by the time I returned but I still was able to photograph a group on their perch. I have begun to look for these birds often now and have observed they also perch regularly on the cell towers across the street. What a view they must have from there!

Finally, one of my favorite looking up activities is viewing the Perseid Meteor Showers every year in August. This year I joined a few fellow naturalists out at Blackthorn Hills Nature Preserve for an evening of viewing. It was a great night with no moon and clear skies. When I returned home later I stayed up as long as I was able and caught a glimpse of more beautiful streaks across the sky.

So every day I remind myself to look up. Nature can be enjoyed from all angles. You never know what surprises await.

Rose Moore – Master Naturalist – journal entry August 2018

Today's post was written by Rose Moore. Rose is a Certified Master Naturalist serving Henderson, Knox, McDonough & Warren Counties. She enjoys exploring the natural world around her and recording the experiences in art and writing.