Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Unexpected Discoveries

Recently, I heard Barb from speak on a podcast about expecting the unexpected during nature study. Although our nature study focus right now is flowers of any kind, during one of our most recent outings, we found some unexpected things to research.  Of course, we also found things we expected to find as well, but it was neat to see the unexpected among the expected.  Once we got home, I began a quest in my field guide and on the internet to see if we could identify what we had stumbled upon.

     As you can see, this is a cluster of mushrooms that was probably about 10-12 inches across.  I have no idea how to identify mushrooms so I won't even pretend to be able to.  That is something I've tried to do in the past and found myself frustrated and with no answer.  So if anyone out there knows of a good website where I might find answers to my mushroom questions, please share!  At any rate, it was neat to see this specimen of mushrooms.

     Here is another find.  I assume it is some sort of large mushroom.  It was around a foot in diameter.  You can get an idea of how large it was by comparing it to the shoe seen at the bottom of the photo.  Seeing this intrigued me as I didn't expect to see such a large specimen growing just off the beaten path.  We couldn't miss it!

     We have seen Daisy Fleabane (or Common Fleabane) before and posted a photo recently but this was different.  I'm pretty sure it's an Oxeye Daisy.

     I think this was the most unexpected creature we found.  It's an Oil Beetle (Meloe Impressus), a member of the Blister Beetle family, and we even discovered from our research that it was a male.  The male has a crimp in the antennae which we were able to see when zooming in.  The female lacks that characteristic.  Although it may appear black, it has a dark blue tint to it.  It was a good thing we didn't touch it because it emits a skin-blistering chemical when agitated.  

     I am amazed at God's handiwork in creation.  And as I engage in nature study and really search for things that I've never looked for before, I'm becoming more interested and fascinated with all the different things God placed on this earth that should cause us to praise His name.  Not only are we learning to enjoy God's beautiful creation, especially some things we've never really taken notice of before, we are also getting a little hiking in for exercise along the way.  Ah...more little kisses from God!

Many Blessings!


  1. Enjoying visiting here! What camera are you using? The pics look great on my end. :)

  2. Thanks! I was thinking about you last night. We have been out of pocket a lot lately. Anyway, I just figured out how to use the camera so that up close photos of things, like flowers, look half way decent. It's a Casio Exilim EX-S10. I have had it a little over a year now but never really experimented much with it until we started doing outdoor nature study. I've been happy with it for a digital compact camera.

  3. Mushrooms (fungus) are really hard for me to identify also. I found a good field guide that I am trying to read and skim through so I can be better equipped: National Audubon Society Field Guide to Mushrooms. I highly suggest looking at your local library for a couple of different field guides to bring home and get the feel for.

    Thanks for listening to the podcast too...I hope it encourages you in your nature study.

  4. Yes, Barb, I was very encouraged through both podcasts. Thank you for all you do to encourage each of us in discovering God's awesome creation. I'd love to hear more podcasts if you feel led to do that in the future. :)

  5. It was fascinating to see your finds. I am not sure where we could go hiking around here, but I would love to find out. We go over to the park and play outside. The girls really enjoy nature. My problem with being outside when it is warm is my unnatural fear of bees, I panic when they get too close. And though I do not care for bugs, I have done bug units in the day care and the Montessori where I worked and am truly fascinated by God's amazing creation. I am trying to become braver.

  6. Honestly, I have to really gear myself up to go outside but it has been such a blessing for me and my kiddos. I don't like dirt, getting hot and sweaty, bugs, etc. but I've gotten past it. It has definitely been worth it. God is showing me so many things that I have never noticed before and it has caused me to realize even more how incredibly Awesome He is!

  7. That beetle is kinda creepy! Interesting about the chemical it emits, and all the info you found about it.

  8. Jamie, that beetle was probably 1.5 inches long - pretty big in my opinion. I couldn't find any info in my field guides so I started searching the internet and found what I was looking for pretty quickly. It was neat to be able to identify it and gather some facts about it. I don't think I'll soon forget about the Oil Beetle.



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