Tag Archives: nature

2520. A lesson in ornithology

What a thrill it was when a pair of pigeons began creating a nest on the ledge right outside Jackson’s window. It had one disadvantage: he could watch the progress over the coming weeks, but the weather was getting warmer and he didn’t want to frighten the pigeons by opening the window. Jackson could have reached out and touched them they were so close.

Jackson kept a detail account of progress in a notebook. They seemed to have created some sort of nest but no egg had appeared. And then wonder of wonders! The first egg appeared! A second egg appeared about a day later. The eggs were white. Both parents took turns sitting on the eggs, but the female did most of the sitting.

After 18 days of incubation two squabs hatched. The parents began feeding them. They grew quickly. After two weeks feathers began to grow. At three weeks they were fully feathered. On the 28th day they were fully grown and ready to leave the nest, but before they did Jackson gently opened the window.

He used an old recipe that was his grandmother’s.

2424.  Hopping mad

Evelyne: Good morning class. Today we are going on a nature study walk. I want you to listen very carefully to what I say about every insect, bird, and plant that we see. When we get back to the classroom we will together make a list of names of the things we have seen – this will be a help with the spelling too. Once we have a list I want you to write a description of each thing that you saw. Perhaps you might even want to draw a picture. So we do this as soon as we get back. So let’s go!

Evelyne: Oh look children! Here’s a grasshopper. I wasn’t expecting to see something like this so soon. Danny and Jack down the back, pay attention. If you’re not going to listen you can go back to the classroom. This, as I said is a grasshopper. It is… yes Abram, what is it?

Abram: Excuse me Miss, but that’s a cicada. There are many differences between cicadas and Orthopterans, but the easiest way to tell them apart is Orthopterans have huge hind legs. So this is a cicada not a grasshopper.

Evelyne: Very good Abram. You obviously know your insects. This, children, is a weed called pink shamrock. We sometimes call it sourgrass because if you eat it it’s very sour. Here children, each of you can take a stem and if you bite into it, it will be sour.

Abram: It’s also called oxalis. We have to be careful Miss because you never know if the oxalis has been sprayed with Hydrocotyle weedkiller. So we should think twice before eating it, at least that’s what my father says.

Evelyne: Very good, Abram. Now here children right on the branch over there is a common house sparrow.

Abram: That’s not a house sparrow, Miss. That’s a hedge sparrow. They look a bit the same but the house sparrow is not as dainty as the hedge sparrow. It’s also called a Dunnock.

Evelyne: Thank you, Abram. Well, class, I think it’s time to go back to the classroom now and get out your Arithmetic books straightaway.

2180. The call of Nature

It was four in the morning. John lay awake in his cosy bed. He normally didn’t wake at that hour. He needed to go to the bathroom.

But the bed was cosy and warm.

I’ll go to the bathroom in a minute, he thought.

In a minute.

Just another minute.

He turned over. Who doesn’t know the call of Nature and the call of staying put in a cosy bed on a cold morning?

I’ll go to the bathroom in a minute.

In a minute.

Just another minute.

At last he could wait no longer. He rose.

One can’t know the future except in a story: John’s procrastination had given the thief enough time to leave the house. Sure, there were a few things missing from the kitchen, but at least he wasn’t murdered by a hit over the head with the frying pan – as initially intended.

1837. Mother Thrush’s baby, Guzzle-Beak

“Now, now, Guzzle-Beak,” said Mother Thrush to her baby in the nest. “You must learn not to complain about your food. It doesn’t matter if you find a bit of lettuce in your caterpillar. Just quietly eat it and things will be fine. It won’t kill you.”

“Look at what happened to your brothers and sisters. There were five of you at the start, and they complained about the food. Next thing, they disappeared. It’s a nasty world out there and we must learn to be grateful for small mercies.”

“Your father and I have worn ourselves to a frazzle finding food for you. So a bit of appreciation wouldn’t go amiss. Taking a positive attitude to things will see you right in life. You’ll go places.”

Just then a hawk swooped down from nowhere, grabbed Guzzle-Beak in its talons, and flew off.

“Oh well,” sighed Mother Thrush eating the caterpillar she had brought for her baby and spitting out the bit of lettuce that was mixed in, “Mr. Thrush and I shall start a second clutch tomorrow.”

1275. Eruption

Well, I guess it had to happen. When I moved here several months ago to live “in the shadow of the volcano” I guess it’s the luck of the draw. For 163 years there hasn’t been a puff of smoke seen. And now, I move here, and WHOOOOF!

It’s amazing to see. Utterly spectacular! Very dark clouds of ash are partially blocking the sun, but it makes it look more like early dusk than darkness. There’s an eerie light. And silence. Occasionally a huge rock can be seen hurtling into the air and presumably crashing down somewhere.

Fortunately I’m far enough away to be safe, I believe. I can watch it all from my kitchen window. I’m too far away too, to hear the roar. I would imagine that closer to the mountain the noise would be thunderous.

It’s going to change forever the shape of our beautiful mountain. The shape of that mountain has been something of an icon for the people who live here. What the future sight of the mountain will be like is anyone’s guess. There goes a huge rock now! There doesn’t seem to be any lava flow that I can see, but I suppose there is. It is utterly exciting. And breath-taking. The power of nature!

The most astounding thing of all however is the alien space crafts that hover above the crater and then sink down, only to pop out again and disappear instantaneously once out. It looks like they are refuelling – something like that. They certainly know how to speed off when they emerge. One thing is for certain, they’re too fast for my camera. I’ve been snapping photos galore and thus far not a single photo has caught an alien craft.

In fact, apparently the aliens have left a message: Note the date – we’ll be back on this day next year.

1161. Dreams of being a vet

Throughout his childhood, Bonito loved Nature. He collected leaves of different plants and pressed them. He knew their names, both Common and Latin. He had pet macaws, and bred them. He even had a pet chinchilla!

Throughout his adolescence his love of Nature never wavered. His parents had a few acres, and he was allowed to have an alpaca. He called it Juan Carlos.

It was a natural step, when he left school, to begin studies to become a vet. He would become a specialist in veterinary services for farm animals. How exciting it was to begin the course in Biology at the university!

In the second week, the students had to dissect a guinea pig each. That was the end of Bonito’s dream. He walked out of class and never came back.

661. Idyllic island

© Bruce Goodman 2 August 2015


(Note: This story is not based on fact, but the process is grounded in the truth!)

It was an idyllic environment on the previously uninhabited island. Nature had spent millions of years adjusting the ecosystem to perfection.

Terence was a multi-millionaire. He bought the island as an anniversary present for his wife of three years. Helene loved nature. The unexploited island was an ideal gift. But first they must build a house on the island. Nothing too grand; something simple that suited the expansive wilderness of the place.

The next thing they did was to make a garden. But they had to bring in the plants and seeds. Cabbages, cauliflowers, carrots, onions… you name it, Terence and Helene planted it. There was, after all, enough room for a huge garden on the empty island. Terence chopped down a few trees to make room for Helene’s herb garden.

But then… Oh dear! Oh dear! Somehow some white butterflies crossed over the narrow waterway between the island and the mainland. The butterfly caterpillars attacked the cabbages. Helene introduced some bug eating birds. The native birds on the island were useless; they seemed to devour only nectar and seeds. The bug eating bird population exploded. Helene got herself a couple of cats. Not only were they company, but they would keep the bird population down. She was tired of the bird droppings everywhere.

Then the cats had kittens and the offspring went feral. Terence got a couple of stoats. The stoats kept the cat population down and got rid of those useless native birds. But the stoat population exploded. There was nothing for it but to trap the stoats.

Then Terence had to clear an entire section of the island of brambles and prickly vines that had invaded the land, brought in by introduced birds’ droppings.

By now so many people wanted to enjoy the beauty of the idyllic island that they had to build a little pier for visiting boats. The fishing in the area was magnificent.

What the heck! They built a bridge across. Why not? They had the money, and visitors brought in income to the few shops that were now appearing along the coastline.

Today Manhattan is thriving.