Nature Watch

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 […]

NATURE WATCH: Ingredients from Nature’s Bounty

NATURE WATCH: Ingredients from Nature’s Bounty

by Nona Estrin Tomatoes! And all the wonderful things one can do with them. Each year we call a week or two Bacon Festival. The required accompaniments are fresh Manghi’s white sliced bread and our fall lettuce, and of course, mayo!  Don’t forget baked tomato halves with Parmesan, olive oil and bread crumbs, and a […]

NATURE WATCH: Honoring Ancient Waters

by Nona Estrin This fine summer is due mostly to weeks without rain. Trees are still bringing water up from the surface layer of the earth and sending it off into the air through their leaves. I feel the cooling effects when I go at noon from our scorching hot patio into the woods, just […]

NATURE WATCH: Rain. Finally!

by Nona Estrin Either dry conditions, nearby logging or the forest tent caterpillar defoliation of the Drew Mountain range to our east, has been responsible for more woodland birds than we are accustomed to. We hear scarlet tanager, thrushes, vireos, rose breasted grosbeaks and others, not normally singing in August. Foliage around the small pool […]