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

In the woods we return to reason and faith-Emerson


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Despite the impending nor'easter a pair of Bluebirds was busy stuffing nest materials into a bird box in my neighborhood this morning. They'll put that project on hold for a few days.
Two male Brown-headed Cowbirds showed up under my bird feeders. The females will show up in a week or two.
And along the West River a Belted Kingfisher rattled off downstream when I disturbed him.
An April snowstorm may seem like a setback to us, but to wildlife tomorrow will be just another spring day.

Monday, March 28, 2011

This evening a Woodcock was "peenting" in the field along Green Mt. Camp Road. I've been listening for them for at least a week. My records for the last twelve years list their return as early as 3-10 and as late as 3-29.
Crows have been carrying nesting material into a nearby pine woods.
The sunniest lawn in my neighborhood has a handful of crocuses in bloom.
And a gray fox scavenges under my bird feeders nightly looking for suet crumbs.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Flocks of robins are on every scrap of open field and lawn; among those I saw today one lone Northern Flicker probed and poked through the dead leaves and dry grass.
Along the West River, Song Sparrows were singing.
And in sun-warmed thickets, Lincoln's Sparrows hopped and scratched in perpetual secretive motion.
3.23.11 What music to waken my spirits: robins perched in the apple trees in the backyard chirruped before sunrise to welcome the day. I'm sure other birds will soon join their chorus.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

3.19.11 While I was out checking hemlocks for the woolly adelgid (count 0 for today!), I came around a giant old sugar maple with sunny side-hill exposure. A fox sparrow attracted my attention by his two-footed scratching in leaves much the same color as it is. Welcome back!

Thursday, I did make a positive identification of yet another infestation of HWA. The count in Dummerston is rising as we all get out there and look.

This morning in the alder brush next to the West River, a Phoebe tail-bobbed and hawked insects from near ground level.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Waves of life swept north this morning, taking advantage of the strong winds out of the WSW. In 3 hours I saw 594 Canada geese, 8 Snow geese, 12 seagulls, 9 turkey vultures, 4 Red-tailed hawks, 2 Black ducks and 2 sharp shinned hawks.
By early afternoon the wind had shifted to WNW and the migration shut down.
For the next day or two I'll keep a sharp lookout for newly returned passerine species. Lots of songbirds probably moved north on the same weather system. Some will show up at my feeders, others in the woods and fields.
Noreen has reported this morning a Great Blue Heron has moved as far north as the Rt. 142 setbacks, not yet Dummerston - but close!
Avian life forms moving up and down the globe, fueled by brief propitious weather patterns like today's, have a scope and scale and a casual ease that always leave me in awe.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Early this am a small skein of geese moved north high and fast, but within range of my somewhat questionable hearing. It was great listening to them announce their passage.
Several grackles were in the trees along the West River.
A Red-shouldered hawk made its first appearance on the hillside above my house.
This Wooly Bear Caterpillar was crawling across Camp Arden Rd. when I found it. Very early for a wooly bear!
And this beetle crash landed on the snow as I watched. It got airborne again within a minute or two.
It felt like spring to me, and I guess I was not alone!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

As I opened up my door, I noticed a wasp. A sign, but not the most wanted, of spring.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

On a small patch of bare ground repeatedly scratched over by a dozen wild turkeys the Grouse Locust somehow managed to avoid being eaten. Grouse locust are a kind of Shorthorned grasshopper.

Monday, March 14, 2011

This morning a mink was hunting around my barn and house foundations. Probably it was looking for mice attracted by my bird feeders.
In the afternoon one of my neighbors reported a mangy coyote. I've seen it a few times. Its tail is ropey and it's missing the majority of its fur, yet somehow it survived the winter.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Today the male Red-bellied woodpecker that held a lone bachelor claim to my suet feeders all winter managed to attract a female. I hadn't seen a female red-bellied at my feeders since November.
On nice days they will both work on excavating a nest hole. On cold or inclement days they will both feed. Excavation will take several weeks.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Today along with the starlings and red-winged blackbirds I had one Common Grackle under my feeders.
There was chipmunk scurrying around atop the snow near Green Mountain Camp.
And on the West River, two Hooded Mergansers and one Common Goldeneye bobbed between the ice-bound sections.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

This morning 2 dozen or more robins hopped around on the ice in the center of the West River. They appeared to be feeding ... perhaps on stoneflies?
In the sycamores, dozens of goldfinch pulled seeds from the sycamore fruit, the ball-like seed clusters.

Friday, March 4, 2011

This afternoon there was a turkey vulture circling over downtown Brattleboro. The sun must be warm enough to keep carrion thawed!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

This morning tow or three Redwinged Blackbirds joined ten or a dozen starlings around my feeders. They were the first I've seen this year. Seeing them was a hint of spring ... when I hear them, it will be a promise.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

3.01.11 The last few days of snow, followed by sleet and rain have made off-road travel challenging for most mammals - even those on snowshoes. I ventured out this afternoon and soon appreciated what it must be like for deer as every laborious step broke through the icy crust, and every foot-lift brought up a chunk of the frozen surface. I did get so far as to check out the otter's wintering area. Fresh tracks have packed down the entrance to its hole in the bank of the pond and the short path to the open water. A trough in the snow revealed where it moved between another nearby pond and this one probably just before the sleet started on Monday morning.