Nature Watch

NATURE WATCH: Magical Fireflies

NATURE WATCH: Magical Fireflies

by Nona Estrin For we who have lived long, this historic heat wave brings many worries, but for the very young, just the discomfort of heat and the pleasures of water, evening, fireflies. A morning or evening trip to Wrightsville beach, the magic of a yard or field of fireflies, sitting by a brook in […]

NATURE WATCH: Rain Brings Treasures

NATURE WATCH: Rain Brings Treasures

by Nona Estrin There is nothing like rain after a long dry spell. I watched this one from under the back door overhang as it rolled in and let loose. The sensation, the smells, were powerful. Clouds billowed up in layers, so you could see way up, the rivers of wind-blown droplets, some driven madly […]

NATURE WATCH: Time for Babies

NATURE WATCH: Time for Babies

by Nona Estrin Birds catch my eye; a robin, beak-full, flies by; great crested flycatchers are active in the canopy, “Wrrreeep! Wrrreep!” It’s baby bird month! Baby animals too! Everywhere, the business is raising young, be it birds or foxes, and with birds, the ratio of success is tough. Our phoebes raise two broods—eight young, […]

NATURE WATCH: Save the Pollinators

NATURE WATCH: Save the Pollinators

by Nona Estrin A time of impossible beauty, endless to-do lists and a huge desire to do nothing! Buds are poised to burst on the apples here at 1,000 feet and wild plumb and shad are already in bloom. Pollinators, though fewer and fewer each year, will soon have their day in the blossoms. Once again […]

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 […]