Needlework outside in da woods

Needlework and natural history is a bit of a niche subject. However, they match up. Really really really do. Making wildlife observations requires stillness, patience and a heck o time. Making elaborate embroideries of pitcher plants requires stillness, patience and a heck o time. See? They match. Three days ago I was in the yard working on a knitted seat cushion for our big bay window, when this happened:

Everybody got away just fine. Toxostoma rufum, brown thrasher, driving off Elaphe obsolete, black rat snake. The thrasher has its nest in the shrub behind it, which is a big ol’honeysuckle thingy called “breath of spring” but I have NO idea what it is botanically. Anyway, the attack happened about 5 feet from me. I’d been sitting for about a half hour at this point.

Here’s some tips for seeing cool stuff:

Get yourself comfortable. Bring your supplies and your fluids and back support and some binoculars and some reference material and a camera and bug spray. There are ticks.

Find a place which is inconspicuous. Do not sit in the center of a field; hide a bit under a tree or near a wall. Shade is good, but the sun may sneak around the sky a bit trying to burn you so don’t count on shade always being where it is. If you can pick the same place repeatedly, that is excellent as stuff will get used to your presence. Avoid places which are on paths used by mammals, as the ticks will congregate there.

Settle yourself. Don’t worry about scaring critters at this point; just get yourself settled.

If you are with someone else, shut the (censored) up. Do NOT play music. Do not talk on your cell phone. Looking at your cell is fine, but noise is not.

I am serious about the bug spray. Have you checked for ticks?

Look up every stitch or two. Stuff happens.

Expect NOTHING to happen for at least 20 minutes of not moving much on your part.

You don’t have to be perfectly still. Just not moving around much and not making noise.

Keep your ears open.

Keep checking for ticks.

Maybe I should do some tick watching. It’d be most efficient. And I hope to finish the pitcher plant next week.


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