Nature Watch

NATURE WATCH: Bubble, Bubble: It’s Boiling Time!

All the pleasures and inconveniences of deep winter in a flash-storm complete with cancellations and days off school! We are skiing again, cautiously, as there is no base to cover sticks, rocks and stumps, and any fall could be serious! And around the corner, another thaw, another spring, this one with long late afternoons of […]

NATURE WATCH: Life Re-Emerges

The yard is full of red-winged blackbirds and their song. By noon the brooks are tumbling along to join the Winooski. It’s a tender time, with life returning. Re-emerging, this year three weeks early. A quick trip to the feed stores reminds me that we live in a time of great danger to all life, […]

NATURE WATCH: The Character Evolution Of Snow

by Nona Estrin Finally a storm with deep snow. Being so fresh,  the snow does not yet have character. Over the next days it may become more fluid and  start to drape from the branches of trees. As it degrades on the ground it may slump  into interesting patterns or gullies, or if it stays […]

NATURE WATCH: Springtime Cometh!

by Nona Estrin February’s still my favorite month. When new snow begins to melt in the sun and make its trip to the sea; when sunny longer days start and end with lavender shadows on gold to peach-tinged snow surfaces; gladness shakes me out of winter and gives me a breath of new life. We […]

NATURE WATCH: Joyful Sparrows Leave Early This Year

NATURE WATCH: Joyful Sparrows Leave Early This Year

by Nona Estrin For the first time in 20 years, our small troupe of American Tree Sparrows from the far north, has decamped early. The joyful flock of birds musically chittering under a rose bush, where I toss mixed seed each day, is gone. Called Chip Darmstadt at the North Branch Nature Center. He too […]


by Nona Estrin A real winter! Now with deer season over, out to the fields and woods we go on skis. We were visited this week by an uncommon bird from sub-arctic Canada, the Northern Shrike. The blue jay-sized carnivorus song bird quickly killed, and than slowly ate, a junko, fussing repeatedly with the business of […]

NATURE WATCH: Ice Drives Us Inside, Tree Sparrows Arrive

NATURE WATCH: Ice Drives Us Inside, Tree Sparrows Arrive

by Nona Estrin Recently we’ve had a couple of migration stragglers. A lone fox sparrow is kicking around in the brush at the edge of the lawn with newly arrived American tree sparrows, on time for their annual winter stay. A single grackle too, and a red-bellied woodpecker, not expected at all, likely from further […]

NATURE WATCH: Supermoon Brings Comfort

by Nona Estrin So many unknowns for so many people! Not right after the election, but by last night, it began to be a comfort to see the heavy supermoon, rising as predicted over our mountians to the east, and today, right on schedual, the vibrant fall flowering of the witch hazel bushes west of […]

NATURE WATCH: Salamander Pond Is Low, Time For Rain

by Nona Estrin These lovely fall days must give way to rain! Today the spotted salamander pond is no longer just low, but virtually empty. I have never in 37 years seen it like this. Still, down at Bobolink Farm, the beaver ponds contain full resovoirs of water, conserved by these furry engineers in a […]

NATURE WATCH: Woodlands Splashed With Red

by Nona Estrin Red maple and ash still stunning deep red and purple, the yellows and oranges of sugar maple not far behind. Today, familiar woodland ways were transformed in late afternoon by golden light that surrounded us and seemed to penetrate everything. Coming home we picked chanterelles the color of that light, at the […]