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Nature of New England                           


Nature Journal

Notes about birds, mammals, wildflowers, insects, and more
Monday, February 3, 2003

Downy WoodpeckerHeard a downy woodpecker this morning. When I first heard it drumming, I wasn't sure whether it was a downy or hairy woodpecker. Then I heard its whinny-like call and that answered my question.

Also saw some interesting behavior at my birdfeeder. A goldfinch was on one perch when a tufted titmouse arrived on the perch above. The goldfinch pecked a

couple of times at the titmouse - something I hadn't seen before. The
titmouse gave one hard peck to the
goldfinch, which then took off in a hurry.
Tuesday, February 4, 2003

The birds have been a bit more vocal lately - especially in the mornings. I've particularly noticed the calls of the white-breasted nuthatch and the tufted titmouse.

Have also observed that some birds - ones that typically come to the feeder separately - are starting to come pairs. I take this to be a sign that spring is coming!

Wednesday, February 5, 2003
Evening SkyWhat a beautiful glow in the sky this evening! It lasted less than a half an hour and then it was gone. A very pretty show indeed!

This photo was taken to the south, not the west. As the sun sets, it shines on the clouds and gives them
this wonderful color.
Thursday, February 6, 2003

I've always been fascinated by the photos taken of the earth by various spacecraft. Here's one of the earth and the moon. You can see South America and Central America on the side of the earth seen in the photo - with part of North America just barely visible.

And, venturing further out in space, here's a beautiful photo of the crescents of Neptune and it's moon Triton.

Friday, February 7, 2003
Barred OwlI looked out the window this morning and saw this unusual shape in the trees. Looked a little closer and then I could tell that it was a barred owl. Enlarge the photo and you'll be able to see it more clearly.

The owl was watching some
songbirds near my house. The birds were
flying around not far from the owl and appeared
not to notice it.

About a half hour later, I heard alarm calls from the birds. I'm guessing that either the owl found its meal or some birds discovered the owl and were warning the others.
Saturday, February 8, 2003
Saw a fisher this morning! That's a first for me. Have heard them at night but never sighted one. Being in the house, I was momentarily torn between running for the camera and just watching. "Just watching" won out.

When I went out for a walk today, I saw the fisher's tracks everywhere - just kind of wandering around. Here's a photo showing where it went to the top of an embankment of snow, took a look, and then came back down.

I saw another spot where it slid down a short, steep slope. I've heard that otters do this, but didn't know that a fisher would. Maybe it just lost its footing. :)
Sunday, February 9, 2003

CoyoteForgot to mention that I heard the coyotes again a couple of nights ago. I woke during the night to the sound of their yelping and yipping. It stopped after a little while, started up again, and then quit for good.

But I still haven't seen any coyote tracks.
And no red fox tracks for a while, either.

There are lots of deer tracks, though. I can see the tracks from deer that have gathered beneath the hemlock trees near my house.

Speaking of deer, I just looked out the window now and realized that there's a whitetail browsing under the pine trees behind the house. Oh, there're two. They're moving very slowly and cautiously in the deep snow. It's close to twilight, a time they typically come out of the woods.

The original two are out of sight now and two more are coming out of the woods! Looks like a doe with its growing fawn. The fawn is quite small and is having a pretty tough time getting through the snow. I hope it makes it through this harsh winter.
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