Nature Notes

I Spy with My Little Eye

By Sydney Chandler

The game of ‘I Spy’ challenges us to notice details around us and describe them in new ways. It was fun to recently overhear visitors at the Arboretum exclaim “Wow, I’ve never seen that before!” as they paused to observe details around them. So here’s a few I Spy items to watch for on your next visit!

I spy with my little eye the jacket of a creature who sneaks through the grass, who sits in the sun, and who ducks into a hole toward home. Unlike forgetful guests who call later searching for their forgotten items, this jacket was left intentionally– it no longer fit! This will likely happen a couple other times during the year as the owner busts other jackets at the seams.


 I spy with my little eye something high in the nut trees on Three-Mile Drive. It resembles a paper mache craft project but is buzzing with activity inside. Creatures come and go from this egg-shaped mass in the tree, and their small bodies quickly disappear into the discrete entrance. They use tiny collected wood and saliva to create the paper-like exterior to this cozy home.


I spy with my little eye a small shiny orange pod. It hangs from a thorny branch and is oblong shaped. It’s quite small but contains many seeds and stands out visually against the surrounding green leaves. As the season progresses, the pod will continue to grow and shift in color.


I spy with my little eye a long tubular apparatus. It reaches down from its owner to suck up nectar from a bright flower by the parking lot. When it’s not being used, it curls up neatly for storage. The owner of this apparatus isn’t in town for long; a lengthy flight is planned for the fall to head south for warmer temperatures.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMonarch collects nectar with its proboscis

Enjoy searching for details to give great hints for your game of I Spy!

Sydney Chandler is a Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer.

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