Archive for August, 2011

On writing and keeping nature journals

I recently got my hands on a copy of “Field Notes on Science and Nature” , published by Harvard University Press, and it made me think back and reflect on my methods and my attitude towards my forays in nature. I always thought i was passionate and a keen observer, but looking at how some of the contributing writers took their field notes (intentionally or unintentionally) with such detail (for some even at such a young age) made me realise that there is a lot more i should do to improve myself.

Note keeping and diary writing were not habits practised in my childhood (albeit my short stints with blogging back in secondary school, but looking back most of it were just shallow, emo rants of no consequence anyway) and that is something i try not to regret, but i do lament to a certain extent.

My interest in biodiversity and ecology was evident in my childhood, but while tracing back i realised there weren’t many physical reminders of my experiences, observations and feelings which i feel are now unfortunately lost. The rather weak powers of human memory makes events in the past sadly impermanent.

Take the most memorable buggies i’ve raised so far – Jade and Leaf, a pair of leaf insects which were given to me by Dr Francis Seow-Choen (colorectal surgeon by profession, phasmatologist by passion) back in primary three. The most i remember of them was that Leaf (the male, which ironically looked more like a grasshopper than a leaf) died shortly after mating, while Jade (the more leaf-like female) became a lot less active after she had laid her eggs and died soon after as well. The eggs hatched after about 36 days, and that’s pretty much all i remember. No notes on their feeding, preening or courting behaviour, and sadly not even any photos.

In more recent years, my taking up of photography ensured some form of records of all my wild finds and captive raising, but the most i can glean from looking through my folders now are just dates, locations and sometimes names (usually just common names, scientific names if i was feeling particularly diligent while processing that day), and once again not much description.

When starting out on this blog, i may have missed the entire essence of nature blogging. While the photos are nice, i realise this has mostly been a hobby thing, the minimal details taken down will not amount to much valuable information, and the most i have achieved so far is to.. show-off photos and maybe spread some awareness and hopefully interest in our local diversity. I would like to consider myself a naturalist, but till now i suppose i’ve been a rather shallow one.

So from now, i will strive to not only shoot, but to observe and write more about the subject, what it was doing, and analyse and speculate possible reasons for it’s appearance, physiology or behaviour. At the same time i would record my thought flows and feelings during the encounter, such that every photo of every unique individual whose life i cross paths with in the field will not just be a pretty picture with a label of where and when, but have a nice, valuable story to tell 🙂

EDIT: (okay i just did a check back on my previous posts, and i realise i did include some recollections of behaviours and feelings, but i’m sure there were a lot more details lost simply because i was too lazy to carry a notebook or whip it out to take notes :P)

Venus Drive (X no. of weeks late orz, in slow progress D:)

sooooo it’s been ages since the last post (half a year D:), and i figured posting to facebook without elaboration wasn’t enough, so i’ll be reviving this blog!.. with a two week late post. Last last saturday, i made a trip down to Venus Drive again with bern, sam and cal-vin in tow in search of (well not specifically) damselflies. Around the entrance we were already greeted by these regular treehuggers Treehuggers (Tyriobapta torrida) female on left, male on right. This aptly named species is almost always found clinging to trees or wooden posts, hence their common name. Mystery orthopteran Mystery day-flying moth