The best of 2009

Black-capped Chickadees

Yesterday was my two-year “blogoversary”. (I actually thought today was, which is why I didn’t post yesterday; it was only in going back to review last year’s post that I realized my error.) I first put metaphorical pen to paper here at The Marvelous in Nature on January 12, 2008. It’s hard to believe two years have flown by already. Not including this one, I have written 449 posts here to date; 222 of those were since my one-year blogoversary post. That works out to about one every 1.6 days. This was probably boosted considerably by my habit of writing more frequently – sometimes up to five times a week – during the summer. I can’t sustain that sort of pace during the winter, when it’s more like one post every 2.3 days.

I thought in celebration of reaching the two-year mark I’d select my favourite posts from 2009 and re-share them here for those who might have missed them the first time, or would just like to enjoy them again. I did this last year, as well; for me, it’s fun to have a chance to review the past year and remember all of my interesting and exciting observations. Two-hundred twenty-two posts is a lot of writing; it was hard to select just twelve as my favourites, but I finally narrowed it down. So without further ado: the best of 2009!

Canadian picnic table

JanuaryI and the Bird #92 – The Picnic Party
I looked through all of my January posts from last year, and I had some interesting observations, but I finally settled on this one. I had a lot of fun when writing the poem, and I still have fun when I go back to read it. I’m hosting I and the Bird #117 next Thursday, nearly one year to the day from the picnic party edition.

Hoary Redpoll

FebruaryThe old man redpoll
We had a couple of Hoary Redpolls visit our feeders in February, and I discussed a bit about them, as well as identification tips to tell them from Commons.

Pileated Woodpecker

MarchA place to call home
While out wandering the woods with Raven I came across a female Pileated Woodpecker working on excavating her nest. She was very unconcerned with us, and kept working away even as I ran off dozens of photos from just below.

Wood Frogs

AprilWood frog love
While visiting some crown land north of the previous house I found a couple of female Wood Frogs being mauled by amorous suitors.

Canadian Columbine, Aquilegia canadensis

MayFlowers of the heart
Columbine are among my favourite wildflowers, and they were fairly common in the rocky habitat around the lake house. I hope we have some around here, too! We arrived too late last summer for them to still be in bloom. My sister got me one for my birthday last year, so I can enjoy them close to the house.


JuneIt’s a bug-eat-bug world
I collected up a number of photos of invertebrates I had encountered with prey (mostly spiders), and shared them together.

Spoon-leaved Sundew, Drosera spatulata

JulyThe plant that eats meat
Sundew are one of my favourite native plants, but are so rarely encountered because of their specialized habitat requirements that make them very local in distribution. I got a chance to check some out with the canoe on one visit to Rock Ridge this summer.


AugustL’otter fun
One morning, while I was sitting at the banding site at the Rock Ridge MAPS station, a family of otters swam by, through the water lilies and along the small lake below.


SeptemberBlack and blue and wet all over
When our landlord came to shut down the pool for the summer, he found a Blue-spotted Salamander in the filter intake, and brought it to share with me.

Netted Stinkhorn, Dictyophora duplicata

OctoberEau de la viande pourrie
My coolest mycological find of the year was this Netted Stinkhorn, one of a small handful I found over in the 100-acre woods.


NovemberWinterizing the brain
November’s a tough month for nature blogger – you’re suffering the post-summer letdown from the biological high you were riding for the last seven months, and in your slightly stupefied state of wildlife withdrawal it’s hard to come up with good content. As an exercise to help overcome the naturalist’s-block, I examine the small square of lichen-covered rock above.

Northern Cardinal

DecemberAll dressed in red
The cardinal that I first wrote about in this post still continues to grace us with his presence at the feeders. It’s good to see him doing so well!


Author: Seabrooke

Author of Peterson Field Guide to Moths. #WriteOnCon Mastermind. Writer of action/thriller SF/F YA. Story junkie. Nature nut. Tea addict. Mother. Finding happiness in the little things. Twitter: @SeabrookeN / @SeabrookeLeckie

32 thoughts on “The best of 2009”

  1. Happy blogoversary Seabrooke! What an excellent group of posts you have given us in this collection of 2009. I think my favorite is the post on the Pileated Woodpecker and the descriptions of how to tell the birds age.

    Obviously your edition of IATB #92 was fabulous with your endearing poetry that we all enjoyed. I am looking forward to your next edition, IATB #117!

    1. Thanks, Larry! As a bander, I have a habit of trying to age birds when I can, now that I know how to, and like to share that knowledge with others, too; I find it fascinating.

      I’ve really set the bar for myself for this next edition, I’ve made myself a tough act to follow!

    1. Thanks, John! It can be hard to keep track of all these dates. I couldn’t remember what day Raven’s birthday was this summer so we just gave her a birthday dinner one evening we figured was close. I figure as long as I remember my family’s I should be fine. :)

  2. Congratulations on another year’s worth of interesting observations, excellent photos and informative and entertaining writing.

    (Sorry about the cold. Bummer!)

    1. Thanks, Marvin! Here’s to an excellent year three.
      Also thanks for the sympathies – I was fortunate to manage to avoid catching one last winter, but I didn’t expect to get off scott-free again this year!

    1. Thanks, Tony! I sure hope to still be at it a few years from now. Sometimes keeping up the routine gets a little tiring, but the “Oh boy, I can’t wait to blog about this!” excitement over a new discovery never gets old. :)

    1. Thanks, KaHolly! It’s fun to go back and sift through all the stuff I wrote over the last year, reliving all of the sightings and experiences again. It can be tough to choose just one per month!

  3. Happy Blogoversary Seabrooke. You are a marvelous writer (yeah, I know). Gifted really, and your ability to convey the world around us is incredible. When I look at the list of people I wish I could l write as well as your name is amongst them.

    Best of luck for the next year of writing, and sharing.

  4. Thank you, Seabrooke, for letting us walk the ‘road less travelled’ (or in US/Canada, ‘traveled’?) in your amazing ecological company. It has been a walk through the woods of discovery for us all – from Poppies and Poetry to Salamanders and Red Cardinals – not forgetting those refreshing runs with Raven along the way.

    Here’s to 2010. I don’t know how you do it, but you certainly give us so much fascinating food for thought as you share the many delights of nature’s beauty … occasionally warts and all (perhaps I have the fungus in mind here!).

    I LOVE your photography and artwork, too. We had a FIRST today: a Redwing in the garden, due to the icy conditions – right up against the back door. Now before my blogging days, I’m not sure I would have known my Redwing from my Robin…

    1. Canada uses British spellings in general, so ’round here it’s ‘travelled’ (though my Google Chrome is American and underlines that as incorrect).

      1. I can never keep them all straight. I tend to write travelled, which Firefox also underlines, but I write marvelous (obviously), when the British should be with two Ls. I include all my Us, but I write the colour as gray with an a, probably because the bird names (such as Gray Catbird) all use the American spelling.

        1. I had trouble getting to your blog when I was first trying to find it because I was going to ‘themarvellousinnature’ and obviously it wasn’t working. I guess the ‘u’ things are the main ones and other than that Canadians use a hybrid of things. Centre like the British, organize like the Americans.

          1. It’s funny how we’ve taken words from both cultures according to what takes our fancy. Really, spell-checkers need their own Canadian English database.

            Here’s another I found while typing today’s post: I like to put Os in things, like manoeuvre. The American spelling, of course, is maneuver. For some reason, when I make the verb active, I have a tendency to combine the two (manoeuvering instead of the proper manoeuvring or maneuvering).

            Oh, or remember the discussion we had a while about catalog/ue?

    2. Thanks, Caroline! I do my best; I’m fortunate that Mother Nature provides lots of intriguing things to discover and share. Part of what makes it all so rewarding is getting feedback from my readers to enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoy writing about it.

      It’s amazing how much blogging opens your eyes, eh? Love those garden firsts! Hope the birdies are all doing okay over there – I imagine they’re just as shocked by all the ice and snow as you guys are!

    1. Thanks, Jason! I enjoy going back over the past year to share some older posts that some may not have seen and others may have forgotten. Wish I could share more! But I set myself a strict limit of one per month, otherwise it just gets too long. Looking forward to IATB – going to have to come up with something super creative this year!

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