Nature Watch

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 […]

NATURE WATCH: Spring Garden Time

by Nona Estrin Fox sparrows are still passing through our yard, with flocks of juncos, all on their way North to breed. And our menus are sparked by the many dishes made with the tender leaves of marsh marigolds or from wild leeks from the woods below the house. They are in soups, frittatas, even […]

NATURE WATCH: Welcome, Spring!

by Nona Estrin Oh, the brilliant, musical notes of the fox sparrow! That settles it! Spring is officially here! The vanguard of these large rusty red sparrows, is now passing through from our southern states, to Canada, where they breed. And a returning song sparrow just showed up in the rose tangle at the back […]

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, […]