Solbit says use your powers of observation

Dear Nicalai,

Nona, Papa, and I practice looking a lot.  You wouldn’t think that looking — or observing — takes practice, would you? Yet, the more I practice, the more I realize that I miss seeing what’s right in front of my face. I need more practice to be good at looking to see what’s there.

Here’s an example.  So, I’m riding along in Nona’s pocket looking down at the ground as it passes by. What do I see?  Dirt. Stones. Nona’s foot moving. Then Papa says, “Stop, did you see that?” Nona stopped. What?  “Look down there below you.”

What I had missed but what was clearly there for me to see was a laboring ant moving a big piece of food — big compared to the ant. What a strong ant!

I would have missed the ant with its vegetable burden payload, if Papa hadn’t pointed it out.  That’s another thing about looking: we have to help each other to see things.  Also, we need to pay attention when someone points out something to see.

On the one hand, looking isn’t easy, but, on the other hand, it doesn’t hurt and can be fun, and you can learn things from what you see and others miss.

When we walked the pathways nearby San Pedro House, not far from our place in Sierra Vista, Arizona, we enjoyed looking at this pond.

Pond water, reeds, maybe some algae, that’s about it, right? Wrong!

Well, we heard something.  Water doesn’t make that sound. Neither do reeds, not even in a strong wind. Algae doesn’t either. Papa knew that sound from the days when he had grown up on a farm.  “That’s a frog. Maybe we can find it if we look really hard,” Papa encouraged us.

There’s a dispute who found the frog first, Nona or me. She used her binoculars, and I didn’t, so I should get the credit. Nona put that circle on the picture though.

We had to keep pointing to the frog because Papa just couldn’t find it. It kept croaking away, and Papa kept asking “Where is it?”  I wonder if maybe he needs glasses for distance?

You can see that the frog is well designed to be very hard to find.  That helps the frog escape predators, like hawks, snakes, and people.

I think we were able to look for birds and find them more easily than the frogs. Often, we would hear the birds singing first. Then we’d look in the direction of the sound, and then we might find them.  That’s how we found this bird. Isn’t it interesting how ears help our eyes?

The lark sparrow kindly posed so that Nona could get a good picture of it.

So, our ears helped us to look. A birds sings, peeps, or squawks, and we hear it as, “Look at me. Find me.” Our ears tell us which way and how high or low to look, and then, if we’re lucky, we see the bird.

By the way, some birdwatchers are so good that they don’t have to look to know what bird they will see.  They know each bird’s calls, so all they have to do is hear it. Nona and Papa aren’t there yet.  I don’t want to discourage them, but, I doubt they ever will identify birds just with their ears. Still they do enjoy looking for birds. Enjoying what they do is what’s important.


I’m your friend.






April 2017

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

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