Nature Watch

NATURE WATCH: Birds are Singing!

NATURE WATCH: Birds are Singing!

By Nona Estrin We live adjacent to a stand of balsam fir, and when the ruby-crowned kinglets arrived a few days ago, the air was full of their quiet yet melodic chattering song. Then last night, five inches of snow! How does an insect-eating bird survive this? By noon everything’s dripping, thawing. Small trees that […]

NATURE WATCH: Fox Sparrows

NATURE WATCH: Fox Sparrows

by Nona Estrin We returned from 24 hours in Putney, during which an icy storm gripped the state, to find fox sparrows, on their way north to Canadian breeding grounds, here for rest and nourishment. My favorite April bird, a large rusty-red, chicken-scratching sparrow with an alto song. I only hear that song once a […]

NATURE WATCH: Peeking Leeks

NATURE WATCH: Peeking Leeks

by Nona Estrin Down in the hardwoods below the house pale spears of this year’s wild leeks are already poking up through the soggy leaf mat. And in the small meadow below us melting snow joins the little brook, languid where wide, gurgling where flat, and fairly dancing over the declines.   Share this:

NATURE WATCH: Final Days of Winter

NATURE WATCH: Final Days of Winter

by Nona Estrin The sun may be strengthening, but we’ve seen so little of it! Foxes are denning somewhere near, making nightly circuits through the yard. And that new track in the snow, too little for red squirrel, too big for vole, is chipmunk, just out of “hibernation.” The woodchuck that dens out back will […]

NATURE WATCH: Hemlock for Nuthatches

NATURE WATCH: Hemlock for Nuthatches

by Nona Estrin I cherish each view of a red-breasted nuthatch this year. This smaller version of its larger cousin, the white-breasted nuthatch, follows the success of hemlock cones, and this winter they have stayed in Vermont to enjoy a bumper crop of the oily, delicious seeds of the hemlocks. The shrinking snowpack under evergreens now […]

Nature Watch – Closer to Spring

Nature Watch – Closer to Spring

by Nona Estrin Ready for sap runs and red winged blackbirds! Mating starts for the tiny pointed nosed shrew, perhaps the only venomous mammal. I see their delicate tracks, under an inch in diameter, or sometimes, while late winter skiing I encounter the little creature its self-running across the snow. I guess eating only protein […]

Nature Watch

Nature Watch

by Nora Estrin Days Lengthen Gray, icy weather hides the approach of spring. But by February 1 the crow flocks break up into family units, migrating birds start moving north, and days lengthen. The sun comes out, the wind dies, and fora moment, its rays almost feel hot. It’s no accident that Valentine’s Day is […]

Nature Watch

by Nona Estrin Let in the Fresh Air With each successive thaw, the snow pack slumps into gullies as water runs off the land. Many small creatures now begin their life cycle. Snow in the woods was peppered with snow fleas the last thaw, and there will be more. Even tinier, influenza and other microbes […]

NATURE WATCH: Long Nights, Short Days

by Nona Estrin This year, family cares and responsibilities leave me with little time to prepare for the holidays. Without all the frenzy, I notice the quiet, the long dark nights, sometimes star-lit, sometimes soft with snow. And the short days, quiet too, with low light or blazing sun, but especially, I feel the pull […]

October Sun

by Nona Estrin Waves of song sparrows, white-throated sparrows, and ruby-crowned kinglets still passing through, and here and there, amid the bare trees, a solitary splash of bright red maple. What remains of gold is still coming on in spots …                             […]