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On The Trail

On The Trail: Shad, salmon and cougars

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Although a few stragglers may yet appear here and there in different watersheds, it’s July and the 2015 Connecticut River anadromous-fish-migration season is, for all intents and purposes, over as usual. A rule of thumb is that once the river temperature stabilizes around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, American shad stop running and start spawning, Atlantic salmon have found or are zeroing in on streams where they’ll reside till fall spawning, and … 1

On The Trail: Tick talk

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Yes, it came out of the blue a couple of weeks ago by email from someone I did not know. No, her question was not unique. In fact, it seems I am asked the same question on every visit to my longtime vet’s office, and often in the public square: Are you finding a lot of ticks? Now, let me say I can … 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 a column suggested by a female reader explaining my unscientific take on ticks when Recorder … 0

On the Trail: Nuts & bolts

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Photographer friend Erik Hoffner, whose eclectic interests intersect mine in several areas related to nature, worldview and politics, chimed in from the wilds of Ashfield this week speculating that, judging from what he’s seen thus far around home, there’s a bumper-crop of acorns this year. Although I haven’t … 0

On the Trail: Sales jobs

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Why not traipse back this week to that old, familiar topic of salmon? Yes, salmon, specifically Connecticut River Atlantic salmon, which I once spent a lot of time and energy on before wandering off to other subjects that tickled my fancy. But now, briefly back to the fish … 0

On the Trail: A teaching moment

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

This subject’s been sitting handy on my desk for three weeks now, printed and pushed aside at least twice to allow for bear banter that came my way the same way most things seem to find me: by email, phone or personal conversation. So, having now put the … 0

On the Trail: Close encounter

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Although there’s other stuff I could get into, interesting topics I’m confident readers would enjoy, it’s back to black bears — specifically a big Wendell bruin that may be attempting to befriend a dear old friend of mine, … 0

On the Trail: Photo finish

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I can’t claim shock because I had an idea a neighbor or random passerby had probably seen that bear my dogs and I recently jumped out of a narrow strip of wetland before it tore up five plastic-covered … 0

On the Trail: Summer mode

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

It started early last week with a startling sound, an invisible burst of energy, a rumble in the jungle, a rustling, brush- and stick-busting sprint by something near and heavy fleeing up the escarpment from a narrow wetland framing the northwestern perimeter of Sunken Meadow. It was a … 0

On The Trail: Oxbow summit

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It’s a hot, hazy mid-afternoon, storm threatening, me standing atop Mt. Sugarloaf, a Pioneer Valley landmark whose summit view never gets old to an old guy who climbed it often as a kid. Standing beside me on the lower tier of the observation tower is Dr. Marjorie Holland, … 0

On The Trail: Slowdown

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The summer solstice has passed, gentle summer breezes are intermittently dislodging small white mock orange flower petals and dropping them to the ground by the bulkhead, the Connecticut River temperature had passed 70 degrees, and the American shad run is, for all intents and purposes, over. Although it … 0

On the trail: Shell, stone

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The loud, sudden, crunching, crashing halt to a power mower’s roar — a sound you’d hate to hear when mowing your lawn — and a maiden voyage to the top of a familiar Pioneer Valley landmark are on the front burner of discussion this week. First, the grinding, … 1

On the trail: Mystery solved

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I guess you can teach old dogs new tricks. I again learned that lesson the hard way. The latest caper began with a lazy, unfortunate fact-checking mistake in a cutline I wrote three weeks ago. Or perhaps it wasn’t laziness at all, but rather just an innocent, misguided … 0

On The Trail: Spring hothouse

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Hectic week, saturating overnight rains that were torrential at times, backyard brook roiled to a soothing roar. Although it may be impossible, I suspect the upper hayfields I walk each day grew eight inches in a day, downpours soaking our fertile, engorged Earth Mother, pushing seed heads toward … 0

On the Trail: Meadow mayhem

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I suppose it would have represented unavoidable carnage to most observers. Yes, just another pathetic victim of the modern, mechanized world. But to me, the mangled painted turtle said much more, some of it unprintable in old-fashioned news. … 1