Nature Watch

NATURE WATCH: Grateful for Bird Songs

by Nona Estrin This time of year, I’m grateful for good hearing. There is nothing prettier to my ear than the spring song of migrating fox sparrows. They stop here to scratch in the brush, adding their alto melody to the warbler-like trills of northbound juncos. Neither of these birds sing until on their way […]

Nature Watch: Bird’s Din: The Sound of Spring

by Nona Estrin A tree full of red-winged blackbirds with their glorious din! And robins returning! Now is the time to learn the unforgettable high chatter of that fabled, once rare bird of prey, the Merlin. Because any day now, the Merlins of Montpelier will return for another year of pigeon hunting and nesting! And you […]

Nature Watch: Creatures Come Out For a Breath of Spring Air?

by Nona Estrin   Today the snow finally collapsed sufficiently to hold a skier and out I went, visiting places I haven’t been able to get to all winter. Tracks on a big field led me to a freshly dug-out skunk den, the dirt and snow plug lying next to it. Further on, in a […]

NATURE WATCH: Ready for Spring

by Nona Estrin The thermostat has finally been turned up! Today was a classic winter day — 20s and silky new snow. Over this next month, the fate of so many creatures is in nature’s hands. We’re hearing about owls in trouble, sitting dazed all day in the open, and I know homeowners here and […]

NATURE WATCH: Springtime Approaches: Time to Pair Up and Bond

by Nona Estrin   Our first sign of spring, right on schedule in spite of the cold! We look out the window on Groundhog Day to see two crows, removed from the flock, sitting quietly, side by side, on a branch arching over the yard. Both winter and their flocks are beginning to break up, […]

NATURE WATCH: Here Comes the Sun

by Nona Estrin Now comes the time of the year I most love in Vermont. Since Dec. 21 the sun, from our house, has lingered at least 25 compass degrees south of Spruce Mountain. In the next weeks the earth starts it’s tilt “south” in earnest, and within a month will be at the flanks […]

NATURE WATCH: Frigid Air Outside, Cozy Inside

by Nona Estrin   A great mass of frigid air settles over us. Even small tasks outdoors become more challenging. Being inside takes on new meaning. It’s nothing short of miraculous that we can be inside, warm, and buffered against such terrible cold. But it’s more than simply warmth. In Denmark and other northern countries there […]

Nature Watch 12.18.14

by Nona Estrin   The sun has slowed its journey toward the south, about to pause and return. Skiing has been silky, but something is missing. I miss the golden-crowned kinglets.  When snow locks up the land, and hunters pack up for home, the woods always seemed to belong to these tiny birds. I looked […]

Nature Watch – 12.4.14

by Nona Estrin As avian winter residents define their cold-season territories, so do the hawks which stay here and survive on birds. When the blue jays suddenly scream, the doves and smaller birds whoosh up and fly for cover, and the woodpeckers freeze vertically on the trunks, we often catch a glimpse of the majestic […]

Nature Watch: 11.20.14

by Nona Estrin On Monday an icy blast brought bad roads and storm. When dusk began to fall only a bit after 3:30 p.m., my spirits sank. I knew winter was coming but some part of me was clearly not prepared. This feeling had been creeping up on me at end of day since time […]