Journal archives for March 2021

March 11, 2021

Nature is everywhere!

My name is Susan Hewitt and I live in New York City. I have been fascinated by nature since I was a little child in England. I grew up at the edge of the suburbs of London, and these days I live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, in NYC, in the US.

I wanted to encourage everyone to bear in mind that nature is everywhere, even within the concrete canyons of the big city. You just have to look really carefully, and really thoroughly, and eventually you will start to notice all kinds of different organisms. And iNaturalist can help you work out what those organisms are, if you yourself sometimes have no idea what you are seeing.

Here in NYC we will be moving into Spring very soon (March 20th will be the first day of spring), and right now we are having a few warm days, perhaps to get us used to the idea that winter is going to be saying goodbye. However, our spring is rather slow and rather late compared to some other parts of the Northern Hemisphere, especially those places that are further south than we are, so it will take a while before everything looks spring-like here in NYC.

In cities I usually recommend that people look around really carefully in parks and gardens (basically that means almost any square, rectangle, or triangle of green that you can see on the map) to discover what you can find that is wild. Not everything in parks and gardens is planted or intended to be there.

If your city is on a river, or on a coastline or estuary, there are almost certainly also a few places where you can safely get down close to the water, and in those places you can maybe find some evidence of what organisms live in that water, and which wild plants like to live next to the water.

I hope you can enjoy nature as much as I do. It's all a lot of fun to find -- birds, fungi, weeds, wildflowers, insects, spiders, other creepy crawlies, seashells, seaweeds, crabs. It's mostly outdoors of course, but in addition to the outdoors, a number of interesting kinds of (mostly quite small) critters live in basements and dusty corners of your home.

Good luck! Have fun!

Yes, nature is everywhere!

Posted on March 11, 2021 21:23 by susanhewitt susanhewitt | 4 comments | Leave a comment

March 17, 2021

Finding the land snail Triodopsis hopetenensis, the Magnolia Threetooth, in NYC

On Friday March 12, my iNat friend @steven-cyclist drove us to Shirley Chisholm State Park in Brooklyn, at the north end of Jamaica Bay.

To my surprise I found a lot of empty shells and live individuals of the polygyrid species Triodopsis hopetonensis, identified for me by Harry G. Lee of Jacksonville, Florida.

Cool!

This species has apparently never been recorded before from New York State, so I am writing an article about this discovery for American Conchologist magazine.

The first four images here are of dead empty shells from grassland. The other five images are of live snails that were sheltering under small rocks beside a gravel pathway in the State Park.

Posted on March 17, 2021 20:00 by susanhewitt susanhewitt | 8 observations | 3 comments | Leave a comment