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honey bee flowers_lorez_ahalsey.jpg

As many people are aware, honey bee populations in the United States are suffering. The mass die-offs of bees is called  Colony Collapse Disorder. There are various theories as to why this is occurring. From my own reading, it seems that a pesticide has been one of the leading causes. Another source of the problem could be from the vast mono cultures that occur in the world of industrial farming.

One way that every land-owner can help honey bees in their area is by planting flowers that honey bees will benefit from. In my painting, I have included 5 of the many kinds of plants and flowers a gardener can choose from. From left to right, I have included: Foxgloves (Digitalis), Coneflower (Echinacea), Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis), Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), and Buttercup (Ranunculus). You can learn more about planting your own bee garden on the Honeybee Conservancy website.

This painting is available as a print on my Etsy shop, FromSkytoSea.

© Ashley P. Halsey 2017

Eel_lorez_ashleyhalseyI recently painted the American Eel as a contribution to a the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center 2016 calendar with the theme of field and stream. A few years ago I read a fascinating book on these mysterious and mythical creatures called Eels: An Exploration, from New Zealand to the Sargasso, of the World’s Most Mysterious Fish. While reading this book I learned all sorts of facts about these bizarre and unusual fish.

” The freshwater eel, of the genus Anguilla, evolved more than fifty million years ago, giving rise to fifteen separate species. . . The freshwater eel is one of the few fishes that does the opposite, spawning in the sea and spending is adulthood in lakes, rivers, and estuaries. . .” —James Prosek, Eels.

The American eel is found along the Atlantic coast including Chesapeake Bay and the Hudson River and as far north as the St. Lawrence River region. Is also present in the river systems of the eastern Gulf of Mexico and in some areas further south.

 

 

AHalsey_mushrooms4All the mushrooms shown here can be found in Northeast America, mainly in forests. They can be found throughout spring and summer but peak in late summer and throughout autumn. Fungi lack chlorophyll and as a result cannot photosynthesize, instead they take in complex chemicals just like animals do. Fungi grow right upon or into their food source, like leaves, and penetrate with thin strands called hyphae. The fungi included in this illustration are listed below:

1) Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius): This is an edible fungus and is common in kitchens in Europe and North America.

2) Yellow Morel (Morchella esculenta): This is a choice edible mushroom. There are also the poisonous false morels (Gyromitra caroliniana and G. brunnea)

3) Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria): This is the quintessential toadstool and is part of the Amanitaceae, a highly poisonous group which includes the Destroying Angel (Amanita virosa) and Deathcap (A. phalloides).

4) Black Trumpet (Craterellus cornucopioides): Also known as the horn of plenty, this is an edible mushroom.

5) Goblet Waxcap (Hygrocybe cantharellus): While these mushrooms are edible, they are so tiny that the energy required to pick enough to make a meal is usually not worth while.

6) Bitter Bolete (Tylopilus felleus): Boletes have small, tubelike openings (pores) instead of gills under the cap and range in color from orange-red to yellow or brown.

Limited edition prints, as well as the original of this painting are available on my Etsy shop.

© 2014 Ashley P. Halsey

NewEnglandCottonTail_ahalsey_loThe New England Cottontail (Sylvilagus transitionalis), can easily be mistaken for the Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus). Both species are found throughout New England and New York, but the New England Cottontail’s range has dwindled in the last 50 years or so. The Eastern Cottontail was originally not found in New England, but migrated there and now competes with the New England Cottontails. The habitat favored by the New England Cottontail is young forest, which includes brush, shrubs and densely growing young trees.

It is nearly impossible to tell these two species apart. The New England Cottontail is distinguishable only by its slightly smaller eyes and body. They also often have a black spot between their ears, they always lack a white spot on the forehead and they have a black line on the front edge of the ear 95% of the time.

More information about the New England Cottontail and its conservation can be found at newenglandcottontail.org

Limited edition prints, as well as the original of this painting are available on my Etsy shop.

© 2014 Ashley P. Halsey

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This cute, but smart, mammal can be found in the coastal waters of the northern Pacific. They rarely come ashore and instead float on their backs, using their chest as a table whilst they attempt to pry open shells and other small meals they catch. Unlike other marine mammals who rely on blubber, sea otters use their fur to keep warm in the water. Their reddish-brown coat is the densest of any mammal, consisting of around 100,000 hairs per cm² (1).

Sadly, these amazing creatures are endangered. An intensive commercial fur trade, from 1740 until about 1900, resulted in the sea otter being harvested almost to extinction. The species has since recovered slightly, but human activities, especially coastal development and marine pollution, now pose a threat to the sea otter (2).

This information is adapted from Arkive.com where you can learn more.

Limited edition prints, as well as the original of this painting are available on my Etsy shop.

© 2014 Ashley P. Halsey

goldencheekedwarbler_AshleyHalsey_webThe golden-cheeked warbler (Dendroica chrysoparia) can be found only in the juniper-oak woodlands of central Texas. The male often returns to the same nesting site each year, and the female makes a nest with strips of juniper bark, woven together with spider silk and insect cocoons, and lined with grass, hair or down. In recent times, it is the only bird to nest entirely within the state of Texas.

In 1990, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the golden-cheeked warbler as Endangered (1), and the species is also listed as Endangered by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (2). As with many song birds, the main threat is habitat loss. Much of its breeding habitat has been cleared for development, agriculture and reservoir construction. Global warming also poses a threat to songbirds throughout the country(3). More information can be found about the golden-cheeked warbler and what is being done to conserve it here.

Limited edition prints, as well as the original of this painting are available on my Etsy shop.

© 2013 Ashley P. Halsey

bog turtle_AshleyHalsey2013At just four inches when full grown, the Bog turtle (Clemmys muhlenbergii), is the smallest turtle in North America. As its name suggests, the Bog turtle can be found in swampy areas and marshy meadows along the Eastern seaboard of the United States. They can easily be identified by the distinctive bright yellow, orange or red blotch on each side of its head.

Unfortunately, Bog turtles were federally listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act in 1997, primarily due to habitat loss and degradation.(1) Bog turtles are legally protected or regulated in nearly all states in which they occur, but most of these regulations relate just to the species and do not provide protection to its habitat. However, many states are increasing efforts to conserve both bog turtles and their habitat, and a number of wetland habitats containing turtle populations throughout the range are protected.(2)

Limited edition prints, as well as the original of this painting are available on my Etsy shop.

© 2013 Ashley P. Halsey

AshleyHalsey_BFF_2013

The Black-footed Ferret (Mustela nigripes) was considered extinct until it was rediscovered in 1981 in Meeteetse, Wyoming. Shortly after that a captive breeding program was started, and in 1991 captive-bred ferrets were released into the wild. They are still classified as an endangered species today, and breeding and conservation programs continue.

Because the Black-footed Ferret relies primarily on prairie dogs as its food source, it lives in and around prairie dog communities. Originally, the prairie dog ecosystem occupied 20 percent of the entire western rangeland, allowing ferrets to cover a large geographic area. Today that area is limited and Black-footed Ferrets are found only at reintroduction sites. Much more information, photos and video are available on the Black-footed Ferret Recovery Program website.

Limited edition prints, as well as the original of this painting are available on my Etsy shop.

© 2013 Ashley P. Halsey

The Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) is a small butterfly with a wing span of approximately one inch. On the upper surface of the male all four wings are a deep violet-blue fringed with white. On the female the upper surface is a dusky brownish blue with orange spots on the edge. The butterfly’s annual life cycle is inextricably tied to that of the wild blue lupine (Lupinus perennis). Adult Karner blues feed on the nectar of flowering plants, but the caterpillars of the Karner blue feed only on the leaves of the wild lupine.

The Karner blue butterfly was Federally listed as an endangered species in 1992. It is experiencing a decline primarily due to human activities such as agriculture, urbanization and fire suppression, which degrade the habitat of the wild lupin. Federal recovery plans for the Karner blue butterfly include protection and management of wild lupine habitat.

Limited edition prints, as well as the original of this painting are available on my Etsy shop.

© 2012 Ashley P. Halsey

Sitting next to the water’s edge is the California Red-legged Frog (Rana draytonii). This species of frog is native to California and is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List.(1)  The frog gets its name from the red color that can be seen on the underside of the hind legs. The overall coloring of the frog ranges from brown to red, the red becoming more prominent as the frog ages.

The California Red-Legged Frogs were among the most abundant amphibians in California until the late 19th century when the arrival of California gold miners caused them to be almost eaten into extinction. About 80,000 frogs per year were consumed by the booming human population.(2) Today the frog population has declined seriously. However, in March 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced 1,600,000 acres of protected land for the species throughout California.(3) Check out the frog in this short video.

Limited edition prints, as well as the original of this painting are available on my Etsy shop.

© 2012 Ashley P. Halsey

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