M/cloudy
24°
M/cloudy
Hi 32° | Lo 19°
On The Trail

On The Trail: Rattlers revisited

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The deluge of timber rattlesnake comments continues following two weeks of discussion here about the state’s plan to establish a population of the venomous snakes on Mt. Zion, the large, isolated Quabbin Reservoir island and no-man’s land that’s off limits to humans. MassWildlife’s justification for the proposal is that no reptile is slipping faster toward extinction than the timber rattler, and thus it’s high time to reverse that troubling trend. … 0

On The Trail: Rattler feedback

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Lots of feedback here and there about last week’s column confirming a MassWildlife proposal to establish a population of endangered Timber Rattlesnakes on a secluded, unspecified Quabbin Reservoir island since dubbed “Rattlesnake Island” by the Boston Globe. “What are they, nuts?” were the most common words uttered. Followed by, “Why would anyone do that? I don’t like snakes.” Well, the decision likely wasn’t … 0

On The Trail: Rattler flap

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

It’s true that the bright waxing moon in the cold winter sky shouldn’t evoke visions of vipers. Yet, go figure, a long persecuted New England snake is indeed this week’s unseasonable topic. “Snakes, in January?” you ask, bemusedly scratching at your temple with your index finger.” Yeah, snakes in January. Better still, Timber … 0

On The Trail: One of the guys

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A gray, rainy afternoon brought news of the same somber hue to my Recorder desk late Monday afternoon: old friend Walter T. Kostanski Jr., known playfully to me as Honorable Walter T., was dead and gone at 91. I had just put to bed the first draft of … 0

On the Trail: Hidden wonders

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Gray, damp, windy. Storm brewing. Wild-rose buds bursting into fragrant white blossoms emitting that sweet, unmistakable scent that money can’t buy. I look forward to the two weeks it annually lingers, making our daily rambles all the more pleasant. I should have known what was coming next. So … 0

On the Trail: Beaver dynamics

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

If you keep plugging at subjects of personal interest like I do, moving from one source to another — focused always on this place called home, its history, deep and shallow — you’re bound to stumble across something that instantly brings a big blurry picture into bright, stunning … 0

On The Trail: Worthwhile walk

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The tomatoes are in the ground, the rhubarb is tall, ripe and a tad tart, asparagus reaches to the heavens, robin-egg shells are underfoot, the smell of red clover is a sweet reminder of the summer to come, and things are starting to happen in the wild kingdom. … 0

On The Trail: The season of the fish

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Fish are on the platter this week. And why not? This is, after all, the week leading up to Memorial Day weekend, thus the week that annually signals the end of MassWildlife’s spring trout-stocking program, which, quite by chance, I innocently happened upon while on my daily routine … 0

On The Trail: Turkeys silent as spring brightens

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Before eight chimes on the Monday-morning tall clock — gray sky, heavy air, cup of coffee in hand and headed for my customary parlor reading station by the window — it walloped me like an open, clammy palm across the puss. Ah yes, that first overpowering fragrance of … 0

On The Trail: Fiddleheads, turkeys and spring mystique

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Fiddleheads and turkeys are today’s topics, plus potential peripheral musings that can always develop. It’s that time of year, I guess, when nature’s magic pokes through the forest floor overnight in bright green color, or maybe furtively peeks … 0

On The Trail: Turkey talk and housecleaning

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Full Corn-Planting Moon is building as the landscape greens, turkeys gobble and shotguns roar from distant hills. Yes, it’s spring turkey season, a fine time of year for a man so inclined. And, word out of Montville, … 0

On The Trail: Splashback

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Do rivers speak? Well, if you listen. Cool, sunny Sunday morning, 10-ish, variable wind gusting to stir small, random oak-leave tornados out in the open along the north wood line of a closed, two-acre meadow. A splendid day for a walk with the dogs — nose-dominant beasts that … 0

On The Trail: Springtime buzz

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Illuminated in a high, bright morning sun, it and a refreshing south breeze in my face, there it lay, clear as day: my trodden trail carved into a short March-brown hayfield, the thin, angled depression still easily discernible after a long, cold, snowy winter freeze, no foot-traffic I’m … 0

On The Trail: Lessons learned

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

There’s something about flowing water that I find liberating, metaphorical to human thought and emotion — be it the rattle or roar, foaming riffles descending into roily runs and step pools, the gentle swirl of frothy eddies. All of the above are likely spots for lurking trout when … 0

On The Trail: Hermit tales

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mention in last week’s “Fish tales” column of a haggard roadside hermit familiar to travelers earlier in my lifetime along Route 5 and 10 between Greenfield and South Deerfield drew additional anecdotal information from near and far that’s worth reporting. The feedback started right off last Thursday morning, … 0