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Speaking of Nature

Kids and Critters: Butter-and-eggs

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

With autumn finally here, it should be obvious that the days are really starting to get shorter now. The Earth is moving in its orbit in such a way that the Northern Hemisphere is tilting farther and farther away from the sun, leaving more and more of our 24 hours spent in shadow rather than in the light. This has … 0

Speaking of Nature: Butterflies

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

At the beginning of July, I formally announced the launching of “The Butterfly Project.” Summer had just begun and I was in tremendously high spirits. What could be more fun, I wondered, than spending my days in pursuit of such a wonderful group of animals? Surely it would be easy to just meander … 0

Speaking of Nature: the spined macrothena

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

When I sat down at my computer to write this column on Sunday morning, I realized that I had absolutely nothing. To quote a line from Seinfeld, my mind was “as barren as the surface of the moon.” There were two factors that contributed to this utter absence of an idea. First, school … 0

Kids & Critters: the wood duck

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

People will tell you that the robin is a sure sign of spring. This, I think, is more a matter of association than truth. The fact is that some robins spend the winter with us every year, though … 0

Speaking of Nature: Craving some color

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Anyone who lives in the northern Temperate Zone is familiar with the feeling. Winter is wonderful when it arrives. It is a fantastic change from the chill of late autumn with its gusting, snowless winds. I mean, why … 0

Speaking of Nature: Sheldon the red-tailed hawk

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The pattern became a familiar one in February. Birds would be at the feeders, or on the porch railing, or anywhere else I had spread out some seed. The options were limited due to all of the snow, … 0

Speaking of Nature: We’re not there yet

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

One of the great joys of childhood is traveling to see your grandparents. When I was a boy, this meant jumping into the family car in Amherst and heading west to Albany. My parents would often pack a … 0

Kids & Critters: When will the grackles arrive?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Most people are familiar with the notion of bird migration. Birds that are primarily insect eaters are often forced to retreat to warmer southern regions during the cold, dark winters of more northern areas. But every winter ends … 0

Speaking of Nature: The thrill of the hunt

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Last week, I introduced you to a gray catbird that has adopted my yard as its home base for the winter. Prior to that, I told the story of a swamp sparrow that had also turned up at … 0

Speaking of Nature: A gray catbird in winter

Thursday, February 19, 2015

I woke up on Monday morning with a start. Was I too late? I looked at the clock and saw that it was still only 6:40, but then I looked at the sky and realized that didn’t really … 0

Speaking of Nature: The mysterious swamp sparrow

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Those of you who know me know of my love for John Burroughs. I was first introduced to him quite by accident back in 1992 when I was perusing the shelves of the Montague Book Mill. I happened … 0

Kids & Critters: the gray squirrel

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Last weekend was really interesting. Saturday was snowy, Sunday was sunny and “warm,” and then we got a huge snowstorm on Monday. I don’t know about you, but I was very glad to have a day off of … 0

Speaking of Nature: Tufted titmouse tilts total

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Back on Jan. 8, I confessed that I am a compulsive list-keeper when it comes to birds. I keep daily lists in my red field journal and next to that I keep a single sheet of paper that … 0

Speaking of Nature: The European starling

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My wife and I sometimes play a game called “time travel.” This is usually something we do in the car, or possibly even at restaurants while we enjoy a glass of wine. The whole idea is to explain … 0

Speaking of Nature: an hour at the kitchen window

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It’s 6:43 on an early-January morning and I have taken up a position at the little writing desk next to my kitchen window. I am currently the only one awake in the house and I have decided to … 0