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Old 18th December 2018, 05:40 PM   #1
The Sparrow
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Any natural history buffs / gentleman (or lady) naturalists out there

My retirement journey to figure out who I am and what I want to do with the rest of my life continues.

I've done microscopy, geology/minerology, astronomy, moon watching/study and lichen collecting.

I've realized its all coming under the umbrella of "Natural History". Ok maybe not astronomy depending on whose definition of natural history you use.

Lately I bought this massive book on natural history. It has made it all come together for me.

I'm enjoying studying and learning about all these things.
Whether its collecting and trying to identify conifer cones, dissecting flower parts and preserving their pollen on microscope slides, looking for new species of lichen, examining rocks from my tiny collection, photographing a plant or going out with telescope on a clear night to study the moon.
I feel content doing all this. Perhaps because in my former life (systems analyst) everything was so rigid and technical.
I was never a biology guy, even in school. Now I am loving it.
There is a whole new world out there and I am loving the learning process.

Anyone else?

BTW the awesome book I am working through:
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Old 18th December 2018, 06:27 PM   #2
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I never studied it, I just went and did it. Hunting, hiking, dirt biking, surfing when the dolphins joined us. Fishing, and actually LOOKING at the water. Free diving in kelp beds, like flying between trees.

But it was with buddies. One took botany, another got his etymology degree. Hiked over Mt. Kearsearge with the entomologist, live on the beach down Baja with the botanist. Go catch rattlesnakes too($$$), eat moon snails off the rocks. Catch and eat Moray eels on purpose. Sleep on the ground, be awoken by the rustling of a kangaroo rat at 3 feet. No guides except Petersens.
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Old 19th December 2018, 03:27 PM   #3
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Congratulations.

Contentment, boy that's a fine place to be.

I took an aptitude test in High School that picked "Forest Ranger" as my career.

It would have been the worst career choice possible with a badge and gun, fining people $500 for getting too close to an animal, jail time for not having a permit to use a road, collecting user fees at a gate, boy what fun.

They had me on the wrong side of the law. Robin Hood and his merry band, baby. This is the King's forest and the King's men are morons that sit in offices all day, they can't even find our trailheads. They don't want to be out here. We have track rigs, dozers, road graders, the right piece for every situation, nothing newer than 1970, lol and they have brand new Chevy Suburbans. The clothes they show up in, just hilarious. Asking people for directions: "there's someone we saw from the air with a road grader about 2 miles in, can you tell me how he gets to the river?" So everyone sends them hither and yon, a whole Suburban full of these fools get stuck, too incredible to be true.

The kid is whacking trees that have died, overhanging the river. Real monsters, the ones that form enormous log jams and impede river traffic but raw gold: it's 170 footers, bone dry. The big fix on 50 below zero.

So the King's men, they finally get out on the river with that Chevy Suburban, full of these fools in office wear. The kid has six new ones whacked, in the deep snow at the end of his ice road. Hasn't cut them up yet. These guys are so stupid they can't comprehend that the road has ended and they are now driving on deep snow, front end goes over the first tree.

The Suburban has a hard time getting over it, but they do and then the second tree, getting over that one was evern harder.

Now they're stuck and it's 30 below zero. The kid is over at my place because he's stashing the grader here. Word went out in a flash when those idiots started driving around the valley that morning asking everyone.

A couple of these geniuses hike out, it's a real ordeal and they're over at a gas and convenience store finally, trying to organize a rescue operation from other townies. But it's the end of the business day and these kinds of people go home in their suits at 5 pm on plowed roads. It would be a contractor charging five thousand dollars and take 24 hours just to get started and their buddies are out in this Suburban, miles from the road with the motor running to stay warm.

The people at the store start to feel sorry for them, it's hilarious at first but now its serious so who are you going to call to extricate them from this very spot? Who has just the right piece of equipment, already warmed up because he is the one you are looking for!

And they know right where the kid is. Smoking a fattie with his feet up by the stove.

So the kid rescues them. About a week later, a very nice letter arrives. The letter states their investigation has concluded there is no evidence of any commercial logging activity and the kid is commended for his assistance.

He charged them $1K.

Society told me they figured I should be one of those toadies in the Suburban. The only legal job you can have in the King's Forest is the one that puts you in an office in town. But it is way more fun in Robin Hood's merry band.

That whole thing started because some little missy on a bike with really fat tires was going out into the wilderness to do an article in some magazine. The only way in with a bike like that is to follow trails someone else has compacted, snowmachiners most commonly. But in this case an ice road a kid has laid out perfectly with a road grader for her.

She can't even tell, a dead tree snipped here, snipped there, the tell-tale burn piles of branches in the snow, the kid cleans up after himself. So when he rolls by with a grader pulling a monster log she freaks out, just stunned even though she is traveling on an ice road this very piece of equipment plowed for her. How does the road get here, ma'am?

But she makes a fuss with enough people with badges that they eventually fly over and spot the grader.

You can frame it as this horrible thing, that's the virtue-signalling townie inclincation here as with little missy on the bike. But when it takes a staff of "professionals" a week to find you and when they do, a rescue operation has to be mounted... they themselves will send you official letters stating "thank you" instead of arresting you.

So the moral is to enjoy your Natural History without man's limitations, one that is imposed upon you most commonly by having to do a profession for society that turns out to be a prison.

As a career, the area may have not been right. You can be irresponsible in a way like a butterfly drifting from flower to flower. Whatever appeals to you from where you are standing.
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Old 19th December 2018, 04:34 PM   #4
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Mr. Pilot,
You write well. I got a kick out of it. Just not sure that is what I am talking about. LOL
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Old 19th December 2018, 04:47 PM   #5
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Similar to casebro, I've never studied it but have always loved doing it.

Shark diving off the southern tip of Africa, Hiking throughout Alaska. Hiking in Big Bend NP in Texas. And being on the water is, perhaps, the greatest feeling I've ever had. (spent many years as an onboard sys admin for a large cruise line.)

There's nothing like sitting around a fire, drinking a beer with friends, and talking about what we saw/did that day.
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Old 21st December 2018, 01:28 PM   #6
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I was never much into natural history, other than immensely enjoying the TV programmes by David Attenborough, in particular. I started off my interest by having a rather average point-and-shoot digital camera in a local park, when I noticed damselflies flitting around the fish pond. A couple of years later, and a considerable upgrade in camera gear, and you can't keep me away from dragonfly and damselfly hotspots in my local area! Here's a couple I uploaded to Flickr;

https://www.flickr.com/photos/154348...57672612051547

I need to upload a bunch more, as I've got hundreds of the buggers.
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Old 22nd December 2018, 08:59 AM   #7
The Sparrow
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Originally Posted by jonesdave116 View Post
I was never much into natural history, other than immensely enjoying the TV programmes by David Attenborough, in particular. I started off my interest by having a rather average point-and-shoot digital camera in a local park, when I noticed damselflies flitting around the fish pond. A couple of years later, and a considerable upgrade in camera gear, and you can't keep me away from dragonfly and damselfly hotspots in my local area! Here's a couple I uploaded to Flickr;

https://www.flickr.com/photos/154348...57672612051547

I need to upload a bunch more, as I've got hundreds of the buggers.
Nice. Please upload more

Its such a broad subject area that one almost needs to very narrowly specialize if you hope to gain extensive knowledge about any one thing.
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Old 22nd December 2018, 03:19 PM   #8
jonesdave116
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Originally Posted by The Sparrow View Post
Nice. Please upload more

Its such a broad subject area that one almost needs to very narrowly specialize if you hope to gain extensive knowledge about any one thing.
Cheers. I shall make it a New Year's resolution to upload a bunch more. If anybody is interested in dragonfly porn, I have some decent images

EDIT: What the hell. It's late, and the mods are probably asleep







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Old 22nd December 2018, 05:49 PM   #9
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Speaking of naughty stuff, I keep misreading this title as "gentleman (or lady) naturists". The fact that it has "buff" earlier in the title doesn't help.
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Old 25th December 2018, 07:48 AM   #10
The Sparrow
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
Speaking of naughty stuff, I keep misreading this title as "gentleman (or lady) naturists". The fact that it has "buff" earlier in the title doesn't help.
LOL

We're all naked under our clothes
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Old 28th December 2018, 03:15 PM   #11
jonesdave116
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I'm lucky enough to live not a million miles from this place;

http://www.monkeyworld.org/

I took a load of pics on my last visit. This was actually shot through glass (perspex?). Whatever it was, it is chimp proof!

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Old 1st January 2019, 09:37 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by jonesdave116 View Post
I'm lucky enough to live not a million miles from this place;

http://www.monkeyworld.org/

I took a load of pics on my last visit. This was actually shot through glass (perspex?). Whatever it was, it is chimp proof!

http://thumbs2.imagebam.com/36/06/2f...1075187814.jpg
Looks amazingly like an American football defensive end about to take the quarterback’s head off.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 03:48 AM   #13
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I have always been into natural history.
Ended up with a few degrees.
If only I could remember half of what I've read on the subject, I'd be a buff.
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Old 6th January 2019, 01:54 PM   #14
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The Sparrow I notice you don't mention twitching ( birdwatching ) despite your nic or photography.

Endless fascinations

https://photos.app.goo.gl/vk4yVpo7rU3ccSyM6 and gives you destinations world wide and situations that at times takes your breath away.



I'm 71 and have been birdwatching since I was 9 and I still recall that day seeing what I had never noticed before.

As far as Natural History ...tho that term is a bit dated...partner and I are both science geeks ( she's a biologist ) and while the tourists are watching the main attraction ...ie a glacier or some such we're peering at the vegetation that is colonizing newly exposed rocks.
Bird and wildlife habitat is so diverse it gives you an opportunity to be in and understand what you are reading about......and then there are the seasons giving a whole other aspect.

All of these photos were taken with microfourthirds cameras which are light ...pocketable ( I chose that for motorcycling ) but super capable due to lens choices. I have my Gx1 in one shirt pocket and the 45 -175 ( 90-350 equv ) in the other and can react as the opportunity arises.

I did not even have to get off the bike.



and here I was sitting at lunch



when three hard to photograph babblers decided to having a mating competition a few meters away.

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Old 12th January 2019, 11:17 AM   #15
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I've looked at Naturists that were in the buff. Does that count as "studying nature"?
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Old 12th January 2019, 11:29 AM   #16
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It's funny. I've never got into the bird watching thing. I like birds and their quirky behavior. Just can't get into it as a thing though. No reason. Thanks for the shots though
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Old 12th January 2019, 11:31 AM   #17
The Sparrow
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Originally Posted by autumn1971 View Post
Looks amazingly like an American football defensive end about to take the quarterback’s head off.
You don't want to mess with chimps. Fascinating but scary animals.
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Old 12th January 2019, 12:31 PM   #18
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Quote:
It's funny. I've never got into the bird watching thing. I like birds and their quirky behavior. Just can't get into it as a thing though. No reason. Thanks for the shots though
Actually I was asking about photography as well. Important way of documenting your discovery journey and a good hobby on it's own.

https://500px.com/macdoc/galleries

Last edited by macdoc; 12th January 2019 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 12th January 2019, 11:15 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by macdoc View Post
Actually I was asking about photography as well. Important way of documenting your discovery journey and a good hobby on it's own.
You have great photos.



I've pitched a small dome tent as a hide and put out food for a few days to attract birds and get them used to it.
With my longest lens (500mm on a Canon 7D) you can get some nice portraits. Two of my favorites.



Grey lourie

CRW_2861.jpg


Brownhooded Kingfisher. This was a cheat. It flew into the lounge window stunning itself. I took a few pics before it recovered and flew off.

_MG_1430.jpg


Rollers always make nice photos.
European Roller
IMG_1838.jpg


Lilacbreasted Roller
IMG_4338.jpg
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Old 12th January 2019, 11:43 PM   #20
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Thanks....no where in the world is doesn't provide interesting subjects from landscapes to the roadside.


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Old 13th January 2019, 12:02 AM   #21
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Very interesting.
Posting to add this to subscribed threads list.
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Old 13th January 2019, 01:15 AM   #22
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Bugs are the best. They are everywhere.


IMG_5044.jpg


Common here and great subjects with their Betty Boop eyes, are jumping spiders.



_MG_7115.jpg


IMG_9116.jpg

Jumping spiders are also very intelligent, especially the genus Portia, which occurs here in South Africa.

Quote:
All members of Portia have instinctive hunting tactics for their most common prey, but can improvise by trial and error against unfamiliar prey or in unfamiliar situations, and then remember the new approach.

They are capable of trying out a behavior to obtain feedback regarding success or failure, and they can plan ahead (as it seems from their detouring behavior).

Portia species can make detours to find the best attack angle against dangerous prey, even when the best detour takes a Portia out of visual contact with the prey, and sometimes the planned route leads to abseiling down a silk thread and biting the prey from behind. Such detours may take up to an hour, and a Portia usually picks the best route even if it needs to walk past an incorrect route. If a Portia makes a mistake while hunting another spider, it may itself be killed.

Portia uses trial-and-error to successfully solve a confinement problem (i.e. how to escape from an island surrounded by water) both when correct choices are rewarded and when incorrect choices are punished.
I think I'll stop posting photos and go take some.
I should be able to find something, but my chickens are eating my models.
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Old 14th January 2019, 09:22 AM   #23
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Good photos! I like I like.
Here be my flikr page with some natural history content

https://www.flickr.com/photos/double_agent_sparrow/
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Old 14th January 2019, 09:56 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by The Sparrow View Post
Good photos! I like I like.
Here be my flikr page with some natural history content

https://www.flickr.com/photos/double_agent_sparrow/



I particularly like the photo of the orange cone growing out of the rocks.


(All very nice photos, thanks.)
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