M/clear
63°
M/clear
Hi 88° | Lo 58°
Speaking of Nature
An immature common loon struggles to subdue a crab in its beak.  Just a moment later, the crab was swallowed whole.
(Bill Danielson photo)

Speaking of Nature: Breakfast with a loon

Thursday, August 21, 2014

My eyes just sort of opened. No alarm had rung, nor had there been any unfamiliar creaking in the rented house, I simply woke up. I fumbled for my watch and noted (with great satisfaction) that it was 4:55 a.m. My beautiful wife was still sound asleep, so I didn’t exactly spring up from the covers, but my mind was … 0

Speaking of Nature: The eastern phoebe

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Phoebes have been of special interest to me ever since I moved into my red house. Prior to that I never had the physical structures in any of my previous homes or apartments that would entice a phoebe to nest. Phoebes like little sheltered nooks under the eves of houses, or inside garages, … 0

Speaking of Nature: Seaweed isn't a plant

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Some of my favorite summertime memories from my childhood revolve around visits to the ocean. I can remember wonderful trips to Cape Cod and the coast of Maine where it seemed that every sight, sound and smell was something new. You could smell the ocean before you got within sight of it and … 0

Speaking of Nature: The field sparrow

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Last week, I wrote a column about a wonderful little bird called a chipping sparrow. The smallest of our local sparrows, this tiny bird is virtually ubiquitous throughout the suburban landscape. With a little attention to your surroundings, and little “learning” and a little practice, anyone will be … 0

Where barred owls thrive

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Writing, like many human endeavors, tends to fall into a comfortable routine for the writer. In extreme cases there may be certain ceremonies that must be followed, or sacrifices made, but at the very least you could say that distinct, patterned habits may result. For me it’s usually … 0

Speaking of Nature: Birches

Thursday, March 21, 2013

When I look at my desktop calendar, I see that yesterday marked the beginning of spring. Known as the vernal equinox, this is a discrete instant in time when the Earth is at a point that creates exactly equal amounts of daylight and darkness. Since that happened at … 0

Speaking of Nature: skunk cabbage

Thursday, March 7, 2013

March is a wonderful month of the year because March is the month when spring arrives. Some of the earliest migrant birds have already started to show up and it won’t be long now before the weather starts to warm up, the ice and snow begin to melt … 0

Track time

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The afternoon sun hangs low in the sky as I look west under the protective canopy of a hemlock grove. The one feature that dominates the winter in our area is — quite obviously — snow. In addition to dominating the landscape it can very effectively dominate people … 0

Looking back at 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

When I asked around about the general feelings people had toward 2012, I was surprised. There are always a few people who are fairly neutral about such questions and there are always people who fill out the pro and con sides fairly evenly, but not so this year. … 0

Speaking of nature: White-footed mouse

Thursday, January 3, 2013

There are many things I like about my yard, but one of the best things is that I have my own campsite down in the woods. All along the western side of my yard there is a long strip of forest that is made up almost exclusively of … 0

Speaking of Nature: Northern harrier nightmares

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Every week for the past 16 years, I have tried to share a story, experience, or bit of knowledge with you in a positive and constructive way. This year, however, I find myself caught in a repeating loop of the most diabolical mental torment imaginable, a cycle so … 0

Basically irresistible

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The sporadic movement of birds across the landscape continues. Here one day, gone the next, and back again next week seems to be a fairly reliable theme for this time of year and it can happen with “regulars” and visitors from afar alike. I made a few observations … 0

Speaking of Nature: Looking north

Thursday, November 15, 2012

This is always a difficult time of year to write about. The majority of the birds are gone for the summer and the few birds that take their place have been scrutinized closely since they are the only new game in town. There are no flowers in bloom, … 0

This bird gets down!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Well boys and girls, this is it. December is finally here and that means Christmas is only a few weeks away. The lights are going up, the trees are being decorated and soon there will be presents hanging in stockings or hiding under trees. And in the spirit … 0

Witness to the finch wars

Thursday, November 8, 2012

It is very easy to feel stressed out in this modern age. American society is based on information, communication and speed and it sometimes overwhelms the senses. At times, when the din of the Internet can feel like a veritable deluge of stupidity, it can be tempting to … 0