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Speaking of Nature
BIll Danielson photo
Seen head on, the faint scalloping on the breast feathers are another hint that this is not a mockingbird.  This adult bird is gray and white without any of the coffee-colored staining of an immature bird.

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 my feeders at roughly the same time. Well, I am happy to let you know that both birds are still coming to … 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 mean much. The sun rises earlier and earlier with every passing day and that’s the … 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 upon a book, sitting innocently enough on the shelves, and when I pulled it down … 0

Speaking of Nature: What a difference a day can make

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The difference between 2013 and 2014 was probably not a particularly sharp one for many of you, but the shift that I experienced was amplified by the fact that I had traveled. My mother-in-law (Fran) celebrated her 75th … 0

Kids & Critters: mourning doves

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) is as elegant as it is common. A little larger than the average birds that inhabit our back yards, the mourning dove is about 12 inches in length. Much of that is accounted … 0

Speaking of Nature

Thursday, December 26, 2013

As is customary at this time of year, I am going to take a look back at 2013 and try to determine what made it different from all of the other years I have lived through. This is … 0

Speaking of Nature: Snowy Sunday

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

When I awoke last Sunday morning, I realized that we were no longer waiting for winter. Although her arrival was not scheduled until Dec. 21, it was clear that she had arrived a little early. The world had … 0

Speaking of Nature: Waiting for winter

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

By the time this column hits the newsstands, we will be just nine days away from the official start of winter — that magical day when we in the northern hemisphere will find ourselves turned as completely away … 0

Kids & Critters: A burst of color

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December is here and that mean that Christmas vacation will be upon us soon. For many people this means a trip to see relatives in far off places. My students are already talking about their plans for the … 0

Speaking of Nature: Give thanks

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

On Sunday, I woke up to discover that winter had finally arrived. The world was rather familiar looking when the sun went down on Saturday, but by the time the sun returned, there had been a change. Snow … 0

Speaking of Nature: The great exception

Thursday, November 21, 2013

One of the benefits of being a teacher is learning. In order to teach a thing, you must first know it; but even then, a student can ask a question that catches you by surprise. Young minds, unfettered … 0

Speaking of Nature: The Pigeon Project

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My house is located in rural open country, so there are a few birds that I’ve had to get used to doing without. I have lots of goldfinches, house finches, mourning doves and crows, but very few titmice … 0

Speaking of Nature: Tasty treats tempt visitors

Thursday, November 7, 2013

I live way out in the country. It’s the kind of place that is very quiet and very dark at night. I’ve lived in my house for eight years and ever since I moved in, I’ve been putting … 0

Speaking of Nature: The house wren

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I made a point of getting up early this morning for two reasons. First, I wanted to be awake while the world outside was still nice and cool. With another day of 90-plus weather forecast, I didn’t want to miss being outside when I could enjoy myself without … 0

Speaking of Nature: Baby birds

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Go outside and listen carefully and you will hear the begging of hungry baby birds from almost every quarter. Summer is upon us and we will soon be up to our eyeballs in baby birds. In my own yard, I have baby bluebirds, tree swallows and house wrens … 0