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Mystery Photo

Photo: a 15′ x 5′ puddle in a grassy field after many days without rain. Any guesses as to what the rough patch is? Please submit all interpretations under “Comments” on the Naturally Curious blog site. Answer will be revealed on June 18th.

Naturally Curious is supported by donations. If you choose to contribute, you may go to  and click on the yellow “donate” button.

34 responses

  1. Rinky

    Swallowtail puddling?

    June 14, 2021 at 7:50 am

  2. Susan Whitaker Capparelle

    No idea Mary. Hope you are well.

    June 14, 2021 at 8:04 am

  3. Leah Goat

    Washout from someone finally cleaning out their birdfeeder?

    June 14, 2021 at 8:09 am

  4. Bill on the Hill

    Initial impression, a bird that has regurgitated contents from it’s gullet, perhaps a larger bird such as a cormorant….I see no signs of tracks around it, so I have to assume rain washed all other signs away leaving behind a pile of fine bones…
    Bill on the Hill… :~)

    June 14, 2021 at 8:14 am

  5. Peter Hollinger

    Whirligig beetles?

    June 14, 2021 at 8:15 am

  6. jonbravo

    Possibly an under ground spring that has bubbled to the surface.

    June 14, 2021 at 8:23 am

  7. My husband suggests moths or butterflies searching for moisture.

    June 14, 2021 at 8:43 am

  8. Alice

    Might be a sinkhole forming🤭

    June 14, 2021 at 8:58 am

  9. Peter

    Dead cicadas

    June 14, 2021 at 9:05 am

  10. The remains of tadpoles that didn’t finish developing before the pool dried?

    June 14, 2021 at 9:18 am

    • Sandra DeRosa

      Good one

      June 17, 2021 at 5:29 pm

  11. Some kind of insect with a shell like a beetle it’s nest on the surface got blown/washed away! 😛 ❤

    June 14, 2021 at 9:41 am

  12. Ed Stockman

    mud daubers collecting nesting material

    June 14, 2021 at 10:02 am

  13. Dear Mary , I haven’t a clue what that is! What fun! Can’t wait to find out! Love, Kay and Lucy and Davina who isn’t so grumpy anymore, getting used to Lucy!

    Sent from my iPhone


    June 14, 2021 at 10:07 am

  14. Dianne Rochford

    exoskeletons of cicadas

    June 14, 2021 at 10:08 am

  15. Elizabeth

    Earthworm casts?

    June 14, 2021 at 10:10 am

  16. Elizabeth Janeway

    Dear Mary,    I cannot find the “Yellow Donate Button” you mention, so how can I give to your wonderful blog? betsy Janeway

    June 14, 2021 at 10:22 am

    • Hi dear Betsy,
      The yellow donate button is only there if you go to the actually website. I’m not sure if it appears in the emailed version of my post!

      June 15, 2021 at 11:27 am

  17. Betsy Hawes

    A low spot where gravel and debris gathered after heavy rain.

    June 14, 2021 at 10:38 am

  18. Hi. Mary, no idea what the rough spot is but it’s an interesting shape. I like the cicada theory. Puddle looks like the puddle made in my lawn leach field by my overfull septic tank…

    June 14, 2021 at 11:35 am

  19. Beth Herr

    Dead tadpoles left after the puddle dried up?

    June 14, 2021 at 11:36 am

  20. Ruth

    Tom suggests that they are year old wheat seed heads

    June 14, 2021 at 12:30 pm

  21. John Jose

    Amphibian larvae that were not able to complete metamorphosis and leave puddle before it dried up.

    June 14, 2021 at 1:50 pm

  22. Jean Dedam

    My two grandsons believe the rough patch is little stones left when a spring bubbled up and washed away the fine dirt around them.

    June 14, 2021 at 2:50 pm

  23. poor little dried up tadpoles or salamander larvae?

    June 14, 2021 at 4:32 pm

  24. Nan Childs

    wood frog or toad tadpoles that died when the pool dried up

    June 14, 2021 at 5:54 pm

  25. Nancy N Childs

    wood frog or toad tadpoles that died when the pool dried up

    June 14, 2021 at 5:57 pm

  26. Anne Shakespeare


    June 14, 2021 at 8:42 pm

  27. Susan Guilford


    June 14, 2021 at 10:50 pm

  28. Something was stirring up the fine clay particles as the puddle was drying, keeping them from settling in this one spot. My first thought was a bathing bird, but then I read the previous comments, and I like tadpoles better. We can’t see tadpole remains because they hopped away as froglets, or were eaten by something. But I don’t see tracks of froglets or what might have eaten them. Wouldn’t be much left of a tadpole after it dried out, so maybe they are there and there’s not enough resolution in the photo to see them. Or were scavenged (by ants, maybe? Would a bunch of ants leave some sort of visible sign if there were a lot of them walking on the mud?

    June 15, 2021 at 9:32 am

  29. A sad end…

    June 15, 2021 at 1:51 pm

  30. Peter Hollinger


    June 15, 2021 at 4:40 pm

  31. Rachael Shaw

    Polliwogs trying to stay wet?

    June 15, 2021 at 9:53 pm

  32. Bill on the Hill

    Upon closer examination, I blew the picture up, I’m seeing animal tracks at the 2:00 o’clock position, possibly from a black bear. Another clue is what appears to be a muscle extending itself out of it’s shell… Could this be a pile of muscle shells regurgitated by perhaps a bear or maybe an otter…?
    Bill on the Hill… :~)

    June 16, 2021 at 6:58 am

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