My blog! It has a name!

As promised by the old tagline, this thing finally has a real name. After writing my introduction post, it was staring me right in the face, and, amazingly, the URL was available. So, henceforth, this site shall be known as Overlooked Nature, and will be located at overlookednature.com.

I almost made it Overlooked Wildlife, but there’s already a book with that title, and “wildlife” usually implies animals. I want to post plants, too. And rocks. And random interesting things that happened to catch my eye. If it’s found outdoors, and I know something about it or can find out something, it’s fair game. I figured “Nature” was a better fit even though it doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as nicely.

And because this is primarily a photo blog, above (or below, or somewhere on the page, depending on the theme and device you’re using) is a very easy-to-overlook bit of nature: the eggs of the common nighthawk. You have no idea how many times I almost stepped on one!

Introduction

Several years ago, I was working as a field biologist. I was out in the woods all summer and winter, trapping small amphibians and reptiles. It gave me an appreciation of the sheer diversity of animals hidden in the trees, underwater, underground, in any patch of grass. The places I worked were only a mile or so from suburban housing developments, yet most people I talked to, even the anglers and hunters and hikers, were unaware that many of these species even existed.

And I did talk to a lot of people. It’s the sort of job people are curious about. If I happened to stop by the grocery store while wearing my work T-shirt, some random shopper would ask how to get my job. “Do you have to have a college degree?” I’d tell them that I did have a degree, but it was possible to get a job without one if you had relevant experience. They would begin to look hopeful. Then I would regretfully crush their dreams: I’d tell them how much it paid. They would look at me disbelievingly and tell me their nephew made that holding a STOP/SLOW sign for the road company.

After a while I realized I was never going to pay off my student loans, so I left that job and went back to school to accumulate more. I’m now a graduate student, and I spend a lot less time in the woods these days.  But one thing that happens when you walk around in the woods and look at things for a living is that you take a ton of pictures. Some of them even turn out well. A few months ago I was looking for a specific photo to show a friend, and ended up scrolling through the photos I took and thinking, hey, these aren’t bad. I should do something with them.

So this blog is for showing some of the hidden and lesser-known species of the southeast US: the burrowers, the swimmers, the creepers, the camouflaged, and the just plain overlooked.