Label: SeeMore Explorers

November 15, 2012

For today’s SeeMore Explorers posting, I decided to identify a bird that I see often at my bird feeder and on the nearby tree.

I love watching birds at the feeder, and I keep a bird identification book on my desk, which I use to figure out what I am seeing. The one I use is Stokes Beginner’s Guide to Birds, Eastern Region. There are lots of these kinds of books out there, and most organize the birds by color, so that it is quite easy to look them up. Just be sure that you are using a book specific to the part of the country where you live.

Isn’t this a gorgeous bird? Here’s what I wrote on my Observation Log:



The first thing I did was look for the red-headed woodpecker, because this bird certainly does have a red head! As soon as I looked, though, I realized that it was not a red-headed woodpecker. Those birds have a completely red head, all the way down to the shoulders - almost as if they are wearing a red hood.

Quite nearby in the bird identification book was the red-bellied woodpecker, and that is what my bird is. It seems like a strange name, but it turns out that this bird has an orange patch on its belly, and that is where it got its name.

I’d love to hear from my readers. What kind of birds do you see in the world around you? Which are your favorites?

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: SeeMore Explorers, birds, Seymour Photographs   •  Permalink (link to this article)

November 1, 2012

Good morning. It’s Thursday, so it’s time for SeeMore Explorers.

A couple of weeks ago, Seymour Simon and I took a walk up to Bash Bish Falls, the highest waterfall in Massachusetts. As we were walking along the creek, heading up the trail to see the waterfall, we came upon this interesting looking thing growing on the side of a tree. I took photographs from both above and below.








It looks like a fungus, or maybe a mushroom. I decided to use the SeeMore Explorers Observation Log to try to find out what it is. 

I typed the words "orange brown tree fungus spongy bottom" into Google. The first website that came up in the search was a "Mushroom and Fungus Identifier" on a website called Healthy Home Gardening. This seemed promising. I opened on the website, and started clicking through lists of photos, looking for images that resembled what I had seen.

I soon found several things that looked quite a bit like what I was looking for, and I noticed that all of them had the word "shelf" in their name. I could tell that what I was seeing was either a Shelf Mushroom or a Shelf Fungus.

Back to Google, where I typed in "shelf mushroom" and did a Google image search this time. Sure enough, I found several credible, scientific websites with photographs of shelf mushrooms that looked very much like what I had found.

What interesting things have you seen outdoors lately? You can download your own copy of SeeMore’s observation log here. Fill it out and share it with your friends, your classmates, your teacher or your family. Let people know what interesting things you are seeing, and what a good nature detective you are!

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: SeeMore Explorers, nature, Plants, Observation   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 27, 2012



I was walking on the beach this weekend and came across a lot of very big, brown shells. I used a SeeMore Explorers Observation Log to describe what I saw:




























I actually knew what the animal was, but I wanted my readers to see how it is possible to figure out what you are seeing in nature.

I have always been fascinated by horseshoe crabs. Did you know that they are one of oldest living creatures? They have been around for 450 million years, which means they were here on Earth 200 million years before the dinosaurs!

The reason the shell I picked up was so light was because the crab was not in there any longer. Horseshoe crabs molt as they grow - that means that they shed their hard shells when they grow out of them. They walk out of the hard shell, and their inner shell, which they already have, begins to harden, becoming their new outer shell. Horseshoe crabs molt many times - 16 times for males, 17 times for females - before they are fully grown. If the shell had been heavy, then it would have been a dead animal.

One other interesting thing about horseshoe crabs is that they are not actually in the crustacean (crab and other shellfish) family. They are more closely related to arachnids (spiders) than they are to shellfish.

What a fascinating animal. Now can you see why I’ve always been interested in these prehistoric animals called horseshoe crabs?

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: SeeMore Explorers, Oceans, Seymour Photographs, Marine Life   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 20, 2012

It’s Thursday, so it is SeeMore Explorers day! Last week, we used an observation log to try to figure out what kind of animal we were seeing. But some weeks, I just want to go somewhere and enjoy many things I can see. I may not know exactly what they all are, but I can enjoy the experience of being out in nature.

That’s what I did last weekend when I visited the Innisfree Garden, in Dutchess County, outside New York City. Innisfree Garden was created in the hollow surrounding Tyrrel Lake - a large, deep natural lake. The garden keepers pump water from the lake through a huge system of underground pipes, so that there is water everywhere you look in the garden. There are fountains, pools, streams, waterfalls, and sculptures that spout water (you can walk under them on a hot day!).

I walked all the way around Tyrrel Lake, and here’s what I saw:



A lovely lake full of lily pads, puffy cumulus clouds dotting the blue sky.








A turtle sunning on a log.







A pink lily flower, one of the last of the summer.








A green frog just before he leaped with a squeak to try to catch a dragonfly (he missed).









A water sculpture shooting streams of droplets into the air.








A rotting log, covered with moss, full of life inside.








A blue heron gingerly wading through the lily pads on delicate, long legs.







A mossy path leading to more beautiful sights.







My lovely wife Liz, smiling at me.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: SeeMore Explorers, Animals, Seymour Photographs, Water, nature, Plants   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 13, 2012

Welcome to SeeMore Explorers Day! Every Thursday will be SeeMore Explorers Day on this website. The idea is to get out in nature and look around you. Take a photograph or draw a picture in your notebook. Write down as many details as you can about what you have seen. Then, come back to school or home and use the resources around you to try to figure out what it is that you have discovered. You can use books, encyclopedias or an Internet search; it is also fine to ask your teacher, librarian or other grownup to help you get started on your research.

We have created a SeeMore Explorers log that you can download and print out - it is designed to help you organize your information when you discover something exciting and interesting in nature. Click here to download your copy. Print it out and you are ready to start exploring - just like Seymour Simon does when he is out walking around and enjoying nature!


I am going to start things off with this photograph that our daughter Jules sent from Washington, DC recently. She thought that this butterfly was so beautiful that she snapped a picture on her phone and sent it to Seymour and me in a text. And of course, we wondered what it was. 

We started by writing down everything we could think of in our own SeeMore Explorers log.

Here is what we came up with: 



See how writing down what you see helps you figure out what you are seeing? We would love to see your observation logs. You can scan and upload right to this website if you want to, by clicking on the yellow button at the top of every page that says "Send Us Photos/Video." Or you can mail your observation log to:
SeeMore Explorers, 15 Cutter Mill Road, Suite 242, Great Neck, NY 11021

Send us your log, and you may find it published right here on!

Photo: Jules Kelly 


Posted by: Liz Nealon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: SeeMore Explorers, Butterflies, Insects, Exploration, nature   •  Permalink (link to this article)

July 3, 2012

Look at this amazing animal that I found on my kitchen door a few days ago! This is a Rosy Maple Moth (scientific Latin name Dryocampa rubicunda). It is called a Rosy Maple Moth because its caterpillar (called the green-striped mapleworm) eats the leaves of maple and oak trees.

When you walk outside in the morning, you will find sleeping moths all around you. Look at leaves, screen doors, the side of your house, tree trunks. Most moths are nocturnal ("nocturnal" means that they are awake at night and sleep during the day), so you can find them and photograph them during the daytime.

How did I know the name of this moth? I have studied animals all my life and know a lot about them, but that doesn’t mean I automatically know the name of everything that I see. However, if I look at all its different qualities and observe very carefully, I usually have enough information to look it up and find out what it is. You can do that, too, by using my Summer Vacation Science Observation Log. It is a sheet that you can download here, and when you answer all the questions and fill it out, you will usually be able to figure out exactly what wild creature you are observing.

Here is my observation log for the Rosy Maple Moth. Look at all the information I got, just by looking and observing carefully.


Download your own copy of the Summer Vacation Science Observation log, print out a bunch of copies, and see how many cool things you can observe this summer. I bet it will be a lot!


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: SeeMore Explorers, Animals, Butterflies, Summer Vacation Science, Insects   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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