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Speaking of Nature
Bill Danielson photo
This photo shows the delicate white Queen Anne’s Lace “flower” with a couple red blossoms in the center. The inset shows how the shape of the flower changes when it starts to produce seeds (the reason the flower is also known as bird’s nest).

Speaking of Nature: Queen Anne’s lace

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Wildflowers have been the focus of my kids’ columns this summer. In July, I introduced readers to hawkweed, a gorgeous orange-flowered plant in the composite family. In August, I switched families and took a look at the cow vetch plant. This purple-flowered beauty is a member of the pea family. Finally, to wrap things up, I am going to honor … 0

Speaking of Nature: Bill discovers a real head tern-er

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Standing at the edge of Malibu Lagoon, I was hypnotized by birds. Double-crested cormorants were perched on a large tangle of driftwood, snowy egrets were hunting in the shallows and common terns were flying overhead. All of these birds were comfortably familiar, but that feeling of comfort would quickly give way to the … 0

Speaking of Nature: The whimbrel

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

It was Thursday, Aug. 6, and for the first time in my life, I was on a beach in Malibu. I was not alone on this beach. There were well over 100 people swimming, walking or basking in the sun, but I was clearly the odd man out. Where others wore only swimsuits, … 0

Speaking of Nature: Screech owl

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

It was early in the morning. Actually it was too early in the morning. I had been sound asleep, dreaming of nothing that I can remember at the moment, but something was reaching down into that comfortable place … 0

Thanks for all the birds!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I don’t know if this schizophrenic month will provide us with sun or snow, but I hope whichever it is you are able to enjoy it with friends and family. The smell of turkey roasting … 0

Speaking of Nature: an unexpected visitor

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Human beings in general, and scientists in particular, are very sensitive to patterns. This makes a lot of sense when one considers the nature of the planet that we live on. The planet spins at a constant rate, … 0

Speaking of Nature: oaks

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I was very fortunate to get a day off on Tuesday. The weather was so mild and the landscape so peaceful that I couldn’t resist going for a walk in my back woods. Many is the day that … 0

Kids & Critters: Want to know a secret?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My wife has recently been putting some extra effort into learning the names of the birds that come to our feeders. Summer birds can be difficult to learn because there are so many of them and they can … 0

Speaking of Nature: A nuthatch saves the day

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sunday was an unexpectedly gloomy day. Saturday had been so warm and lovely in comparison that the annual chore of moving firewood seemed like an unacceptable use of time. So, rather than don the heavy clothes required for … 0

Speaking of Nature: fall migration

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I’m teaching a new course at school and it’s absorbing so much of my time that I haven’t had a chance to go out with my camera in far too long. This past weekend was another that had … 0

Kids and Critters: mushrooms

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The beginning of autumn marks that time of year when the green leaves of summer finally “fall” off the trees. This a particularly beautiful time of year here in New England, but what you might not know is … 0

Speaking of Nature: Pied-billed grebes do exits!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

One of the great joys of my life has been the ever-growing relationship that I have with the birds of the world. As time passes, I find that I learn more and more about our avian neighbors and … 0

Speaking of Nature: There’s a new vulture in town

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Back in the fall of 1986, I entered the wildlife biology program at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst with so much to learn. My head contained a smattering of information about the birds, mammals, reptiles, insects and fish that … 0

Speaking of Nature: The cricket moon

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The last glorious days of summer are upon us. September is here and the world has taken on a definite and delightful quality that is distinct and easy to hear. Many of our birds are preparing to leave … 0

Kids & Critters: Ambush bugs

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Now that school is in back in session, we can all start our new classes and meet our new teachers. I always enjoyed learning new things in English, math and history, but when I was a boy, I … 0