Nature Watch


by Nona Estrin What happened to the leaves while we were away? Opposite-branched ash trees, which turn colors from yellow to peach to deep mahogany,  stand bare against the blue, blue sky. Many sugar maples are in disarray, either bare, covered only by a few brassy samaras or seeds, or sporting a variety of dead […]

NATURE WATCH: Holed Up for Jose

by Nona Estrin A visit to the Outer Cape coincides with the remnants of Hurricane Jose. We will be holed up for the winds and rain, then enjoying the great swells after Jose has passed well to our North. Our thoughts are with hundreds of thousands of tree swallows, migrating now along the coast, fattening up […]

NATURE WATCH: Waiting for Crickets

NATURE WATCH: Waiting for Crickets

by Nona Estrin The fall soundscape is still missing something for me, and I think the early cold spring has made them late. The chirping of crickets! Tree crickets are singing. The ones that trill on continuously and could be confused with ringing in the ears! But ahh! the chirping ones, the sweet ones,  either […]

NATURE WATCH: Fleeting Stillness Of Summer

NATURE WATCH: Fleeting Stillness Of Summer

by Nona Estrin Now just as summer seems to take a big breath in before turning toward fall, just at the moment when there is a stillness over the land, we humans at these high latitudes speed up. There is first applesauce, fruit and vegetable preservation, visitors pouring into Vermont, old friends, family coming, weddings […]

NATURE WATCH: A Hush Falls Over The Forest

by Nona Estrin Suddenly the woods are quiet. It seems to have happened overnight. An occasional late-singing  red-eyed vireo by day, or a  thrush as evening falls, may break the hush. But in general, most creatures, even those that will migrate, have quieted down and are busy fattening up! Seeds and fruits had better hurry […]

NATURE WATCH: Summer’s Height: A Rainbow Of Glory

by Nona Estrin Walking a dirt road on the way to pick chantrelles, stars of roadside chickory declare azure blue while a catbird in the viburnum tangle achieves operatic glory! And tonight, a rainbow holds out hope for summer weather ahead, berries, fruits and nuts for the bears, and plenty of insects for this year’s […]

NATURE WATCH: Pools Of Water Wiggle With Life

by Nona Estrin Finally! Summer in earnest! A broad-winged hawk’s high, lilting kee-liee! overhead, as it wheels above its nest territory with great arcs in the morning sky. At the yellow-spotted salamander’s vernal pool, larval stage wigglers, too big and too long-tailed for frogs or toads, swim lazily in a shaft of sunlight from the […]

NATURE WATCH: Longing For Sun

by Nona Estrin A week of rains, soaking in. Again! And the rivers and ponds, the lakes and puddles fill up once more and spill over once again. Luckily, this comes as birds are brooding eggs, not trying to feed insects to a handful of nestlings. And luckily, we started this year with a dry earth, […]

NATURE WATCH: Blossoms Converge! Come Hither, Bees.

By Nona Estrin After the long cold start, shad, plum and apple — generally spread out by weeks — are all now blooming in our yard! And there is a frenzy of pollinator activity. Looking up into the crown of blossoms, I see small native bees, tiny nectar flies or bees, honey bees, and bumblebees. […]

NATURE WATCH: Sugar Maples A Flowering

by Nona Estrin Forget the dreary weather and step outside! The sugar maples are flowering! Only a couple or three times each decade, sugar maples all over the Northeast use chemical signaling to achieve synchronous flowering and this year is one of those precious springs! That haze of white-green, so etherial, is made up of […]