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Speaking of Nature
Bill Danielson photo
This is the photo that initially faked me out. The pink beak said field sparrow, but the coloration around the eye and the light patch on the forehead gave me doubts.

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, which causes us to catch sight of (and then lose sight of) the stars in a very comfortable and predictable pattern. But … 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 I have wanted to call in sick and play hooky on a gorgeous day like … 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 often be difficult to see. Winter birds, on the other hand, are much easier because … 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

The Algonquin Pines:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

This adventure is appropriate for lone hikers, couples, or entire families with young children. Your mission: seek out some giant trees; the results of 150 years of quiet, uninterrupted growth. Your destination is the Mohawk Trail State Forest, which lies on the western edge of Franklin County. Measuring … 0