Current Journal


Nature of New England                           


Nature Journal

Notes about birds, mammals, wildflowers, insects, and more
Monday, January 27, 2003
Saw a hairy woodpecker drumming again today. On a different tree than last Thursday, but in the same area.

And there was a brown creeper on a small maple tree near the house. These birds have a distinctive way of moving that caught my eye. Got out the binoculars to get a better look - and to make sure it really was a brown creeper. They're fun to watch.
Tuesday, January 28, 2003
Mountains Through TreesAfter the leaves have fallen in the autumn, the mountains to the east of the house can be seen through the trees. The dark-colored oak tree in the foreground seems to be a favorite spot for the brown creeper.
Saw the creeper on this tree again
this morning. At first it was moving up
the trunk, then it just sat for a long time at the top of the broken branch. I waited about 10 minutes and it just moved its head back and forth a little - nothing else. I came back a half hour later and it was nowhere to be seen.
Wednesday, January 29, 2003
This morning there was a single deer wading through the snow to the north of the house. I'm amazed that they're able to get through snow that's so deep and wonder what is motivating them to come out of the more protected areas.

The purple finch that appeared at my feeder last Saturday has become a regular visitor. It comes alone each day and no other purple finches seem to be in the area.
Thursday, January 30, 2003
American GoldfinchIt will be quite a while before the goldfinches in this area look like the photo on the right.

However, there's one goldfinch coming to my feeder that's beginning to show signs of molting on its chest and around the head. It seems pretty early for that.

Maybe this particular bird has had more
yellow coloring than usual all winter -
and I just didn't notice? The yellow color is
appearing in splotches - like it does during a molt.
Hmm... I'll have to keep an eye on this one.
Friday, January 31, 2003
In the winter, I don't often get down to the river to check out the ducks and other water birds. But here's an article from someone who does!

This article tells about some of the common and uncommon species he has seen recently in southern Vermont and other areas. He also describes watching the unusual behavior of mallards diving for food - instead of dabbling.

The last paragraph explains the reason why I'm not down at the river watching the ducks. <chuckle>
Saturday, February 1, 2003

Mouse Tracks?I found these tracks in the snow the other day. Think they might be mouse tracks. It's obviously some very small mammal and the only others that come to mind are moles, voles, and shrews. I don't think moles or voles spend much time on the surface of the snow. Not sure about shrews.

Of my three tracking guides, none give

enough information for me to make a certain identification. One has a photo showing mouse tracks that have a pattern like chipmunk tracks.

In this photo, marks can be seen from the animal's tail dragging on the ground. In spite of not having the pattern of chipmunk tracks, I'm guessing that these are the tracks of a mouse that is bounding. Maybe a deer mouse or white-footed mouse, because they have longer tails than some others.

I have a sneaking feeling that I'm wrong, though. If I find out, I'll come back to this page and let you know.
Sunday, February 2, 2003
It looks like the goldfinches really are starting to molt. On Thursday, I saw only one that was noticeably changing color. And I wasn't very sure that I believed it was molting - since it seemed early.

Now many of the males are showing more yellow. Today I'm noticing more color on each side of the body near the wing, in addition to the molting that's beginning on the chest and head.
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