Welcome to Whispers
On a snowy day a Downy Woodpecker drops by to welcome you to our newsletter.
Welcome to December's issue of Whispers, the newsletter of the Dereila Nature Inn - your cyber nature centre where we celebrate nature and photography every month with trivia, tips and site updates. 

It's hard to believe that we're entering the end of 2009 - where did the year go?  We hope you have had some wonderful encounters with nature during the last twelve months and that you're looking forward to more wildlife and wild places in the New Year. 

At the Nature Inn we're starting our 4th year online.  We're thrilled about how big the website has become and all of the support we've received from people like you.  Many thanks for subscribing and supporting the project.
Trivia Time
Here's this month's trivia question: Which insects uses its feet to find and taste food?

You'll find the answer at the end of the newsletter.
What's This?
Once again we have a challenge for you.  Can you figure out what this curious thing is? 

Close-ups In Nature

 To make it easier, we're showing up the top (above) and the bottom (below).

Mystery image

Frequent visitors to the forest should have no problem with this one!
You'll find the answer below. For more of this type of mystery solving, be sure to visit our pages of Close-ups in Nature.
New Features at the Inn
Here are the newest additions to the Inn. Click on the images below to visit the pages.

Click to visit 
Junco Bread Recipe

With winter weather arriving and food being scarce, here's another recipe from our chef that juncos and other birds will love.

Click to visit.
Walking in the Wild - The Trees 

This month we begin our new series of fact-files featuring trees.  We start off with 12 pages of photographs and information.

Click to visit.
Guide to Bird Food

Find out which birds prefer which foods in this guide. 

To see the latest postings at the Inn as they are added visit the news and updates page.
Contributed by...
As a community of nature enthusiasts we invite you to submit nature photographs to this part of our monthly newsletter.  This month we have three people who sent some great pictures for us all to enjoy.

Contributed image 1

 Julie Copenhagen of Van Etten, NY sent in this picture of a
Deer Mouse out in the snow.

Contributed Image 2

 Julie also sent in this beautiful photograph taken in New York state
called "A Pond in the Snow."

 Contributed Image 

From Nashville, TN, John Frye sent this photograph
of a river cascading through the lush forest. 
You can almost hear the sound of the water.

 Contributed Image

  John's second contribution is of the forest floor 
with a fascinating display of plants.

Contributed Image 

Kathryn M. from Calgary, AB spotted a Hairy Woodpecker on her log feeder and captured this photograph.  It's enjoying some Chickadee Pudding, a recipe Kathryn sent us last month.
Kathryn, John and Julie, thank-you so much for sending in these photographs. 
They're great.

If you would like to see your nature images in our members' section,
simply send us an e-mail.
Monthly Selections 
Each month we select a bug, wildflower and bird of the month. Here are this month's choices: Bug - Xylophagid Fly; Wildflower - Baldhip Rose; Bird - European Robin.

Insect of the Month  Flower of the Month  Bird of the Month
Simply click on the images to visit the pages.
You can also check out the archives as they're just a click away:

Wildflower Archives | Bug Archives | Bird Archives

The Wandering Image
This month we go down by the lagoon.

Wandering Image

A family of otters was spotted in the wild on Vancouver Island
frolicking in the sunshine on a sunny autumn day. 

To see more marvelous mammals, check out our At-A-Glance Guide to Mammals.
Snippets in Nature ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Snippets in Nature image

Our snippet this month takes us up into the snowy forests in the
Kananaskis area of the  Alberta Rocky Mountains in a sunny, winter day.
Caption This! 
This photo of two seagulls fighting over a shell invites a funny caption.  We've given you a couple of examples, but hopefully you can come up with something better! 

Caption needed!

Number one: "It's mine! Get off!"
Number two: "I saw it first.  You get your own."

If you have any suggestions for additional funny captions, please, send us an e-mail.
We'd love to hear from you and add your caption to our collection.

You can visit the rest of the collections at the Inn:
The Mammals | The Birds | The Insects
Behind the Name 
In this section we examine the meanings behind scientific names.

Behind the Name image

This mushroom is the Western Woodland Amanita, Amanita silvicola.  The first part of the scientific name comes from the Greek word for fungus: amānītai.  The second part literally means "living in the woods" which is where you'll find this inedible but interesting organism.
Joke of the Month ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Two penguins go into a bar and ask the bartender, "Have you seen our Dad?"

"I don't think so," he replies.  "What does he look like?"

Joke of the Month

 "He's not much good. Let's go next door."
Notes from Around the Inn
A Winter Reminder
In some areas hummingbirds stay all year long, despite being exposed to snow, cold and other harsh winter conditions.

Friendly Reminder

In an earlier newsletter we suggested creating a shelter for your hummingbird feeder like this one. It protects the feeder from the snow and the rain and helps out our hummingbird friends during difficult times.

Reminder image

Here an Anna's hummingbird takes advantage of the set-up.   
Correction Note
We had a note from subscriber Michael H last month, pointing out that we'd misidentified the seastar in November's newsletter.  It should have been labeled a Stimson Sunstar.  We always appreciate any corrections and thank Michael for his help with this one.

Flower Update


Thanks to Peter L from Missoula, MT who sent in this photograph of the Bitterroot, Lewisia rediviva, the state flower of Montana and the last of the US flowers that we needed for the collection.  We still need a couple of others from Canada to complete the page.  You can view the collection by clicking here.  We'd also like to thank everyone else who contributed to this page.
Past Issues
We upload past issues of Whispers as new ones are issued.  You can view them all with a simple click here 
Nature Notes

Click here to learn more about seashore and marine life.

Did You Know... 
Did you know that bees have pollen sacs on the backs of their legs?

Did you know image

This bee is collecting pollen and you can see the pouches in which it is stored. When the bee lands on a flower it transfers the pollen into its pollen sacs and then takes it back to its hive. 
Trivia Answer 
What insect finds and tastes food with its feet? The Butterfly.

Trivia Answer 

Butterflies have six legs and taste sensors on their feet. 
By standing on their food they can actually tastes it. 
This photograph is a stunning Painted Lady, Vanessa cardui.
What's This? 
If you've been following this series, we're pretty sure you would have figured out this month's mystery photos: 

What's this answer

It's a mushroom, the Red-belted Polypore, Fomitopsis pinicola.

What's this answer.

This is the underside. 

We'll try and have a really tough one for you next month! 
Spread the Word ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Please spread the word about our project by passing on our website information to friends and other nature lovers.  You can also forward this newsletter by clicking on the "forward e-mail" link at the bottom of this newsletter.

Any other ideas and suggestions are always welcome.  Send us an e-mail!
Watch for the next issue in your mailbox during the first week of January 2010.  In the meantime we want to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and we send you the happiest of wishes for a joyful new year.

Until next time, best wishes from your friends at the Dereila Nature Inn - the Cyber Nature Centre for Nature Lovers.