To all those interested in the natural world. Please add your sightings.

In the woods we return to reason and faith-Emerson


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Today for the first time this winter I had a Redpoll at my feeders.
Redpolls are arctic birds that move south in times of seed shortages. Often they arrive in large restless flocks, but so far I've seen just the one.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A heron was at a frozen pond this morning in East Dummerston. I think he wanted food. He flew off toward the Retreat Meadows after about thirty minutes.

Friday, December 17, 2010

This morning a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker visited my suet feeder. For at least the last 3 winters sapsuckers have overwintered here, although range maps show Conn. to be the northern limit of their winter range.
Last winter we also had a Northern Flicker overwinter with us, and frequent our feeders. Range maps show the northern limit of their range to be south of Vermont.
And while these sitings might be the result of the ongoing global warming episode, I suspect that bird feeders were also a factor in the decision of each species to overwinter.
A consistent supply of high energy foods - normally lacking during the winter months - probably made migration an unnecessary risk for them!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

This morning a Northern Harrier was hunting over nearby fields.
The migration of northern harriers is often described as "protracted." Spring migration happens over the three months from early March through late May. Fall migration starts in mid-August and ends four and a half months later in late December.
Therefore, it's possible to see migrating harriers during at least 7 if not 8 months of the year!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gray fox tracks-Coyote tracks heading to Miller's Orchard. Hmmm rotten apples to eat.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bush Honeysuckles show their alien invasive eagerness to leaf before native species, unfurling new growth in sheltered spots around my neighborhood this week. Twenty eight degrees with a brisk NW wind apparently feels like spring to them.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Horse-nettle (Solanum Carolinense), a relative of the Tomato, brightens an otherwise drab field with its abundant yellow-orange berries.
Meanwhile, this dandelion is making one last futile effort at reproduction in a world stripped of pollinators.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

As of this afternoon, Creeping Buttercups still have healthy green leaves and one fresh faced flower in one damp but absolutely optimal micro-climate in my neighborhood.