Current Journal


Nature of New England                           


Nature Journal

Notes about birds, mammals, wildflowers, insects, and more
Friday, April 30, 2004
Saw a red fox today in the early afternoon! It was about 40 or 50 feet away and trotting toward me when I spotted it. I stood still but it had already seen me. It looked to its left, back toward me, and then quickly trotted off to the left and out of sight.

Pileated Woodpecker HoleA few days ago, I found this hole made in a hemlock tree by a pileated woodpecker. I heard the call of the woodpecker nearby.

I think that it's a nest cavity. The holes that pileated woodpeckers make when excavating for insects are not as deep. Also, there is usually more than one such hole in a single tree - which is not the case here.

Today I heard my first black-throated green warbler of the season. Unlike some other warblers, I find their song easy to identify.

We had a warm day today and the spring peepers are calling much more loudly this evening than a few days ago. And along with the peepers, I can hear the "peent, peent, peent" of a woodcock in the distance.
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Saw a purple finch singing its heart out this morning. They have such beautiful plumage this time of year and this one was especially pretty.

Other recent bird sightings:  juncos (apparently nesting), three red-tailed hawks soaring above the trees, a flicker near the edge of a clearing, goldfinches in full breeding plumage, and a hairy woodpecker foraging on a tree trunk.

Have been hearing many other birds, including a barred owl, woodcocks, phoebes, nuthatches (both red-breasted and white-breasted), chickadees, ravens, robins, titmice, and the sound of various woodpeckers calling and drumming.

Some warblers have arrived, including the yellow warbler. There are a few other new arrivals that I haven't yet identified by song. It seems to me that they sing shorter segments of their spring song when the weather is cooler. And, once the weather gets warmer, they start singing their full repertoire.

The blue jays have been pretty quiet over the past few weeks. My guess is that they are in the late courtship period or have begun nest-building activities.
Saturday, April 24, 2004
Spring PeeperHeard the spring peepers last night - for the first time this year. Not many of them were singing, but as the weather gets warmer, more will join the chorus.

Yesterday, I came upon a ruffed grouse - standing about 20 feet from
me, flipping its tail feathers up and down.
Then it stood still for a bit. A few moments
later, it walked quickly off into the underbrush.

The red maples are flowering and the high winds we've had lately have already brought a few of the flowers down to the ground.

I continue to see moose tracks in the area. Fresh ones every few days. And, in the early evening, the sound of the woodcock's courtship display can still be heard.
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
I suspect that the mating season has begun for the wild turkey. Today I saw a turkey moving very quickly along the ground - almost running, actually. I looked around and saw a larger turkey following the first one, but at a slower pace.

I would guess that the first turkey was a female and the second was a male. Haven't heard any mating calls yet, though. Usually that's the first sign of the mating season I notice. Then, not long after that, I'll see the males displaying - if I happen to be in the right place at the right time.
Sunday, April 18, 2004
MooseToday I heard some unusual noises outside that I couldn't place - branches cracking and sound of hooves on the ground. Looked out the window and there was a moose about 15 feet behind my house!

I ran to get my camera and watched it for a while as I took a few photos.
Until recently, the moose in my general area
have been staying at a higher elevation, except
during the fall rutting season. At that time, they
can be found almost anywhere.

The winter before last is the first time I remember seeing moose droppings in the woods within a half-mile of my house. This past winter, there was a lot more of it. So I knew that at least one moose was spending more time in the nearby woods outside of the rutting season.
Thursday, April 15, 2004

Went to a vernal pond in the woods today. Some frogs were "singing." I recorded their sounds and I think they're wood frogs.

I looked and looked but couldn't see any frogs in or near the pond - though I could see ripples in the water where they were submerged.

I tried moving more slowly and with little noise, but I still couldn't get a look at a single frog! But it was great to hear them!

Click an icon below to listen to the wood frogs. Some bird gives a short, quiet call near the beginning.
          .wav (400K)            .mp3 (65K)
Monday, April 12, 2004
Nest in TreeSaw this nest in a white pine tree while walking in the woods yesterday. It looks like it might be around 2 - 2.5 feet in diameter. I'm think it might be a hawk's nest, but not 100% sure. I'll be watching it (from a distance) in the next few weeks to see if there's any activity.

I continue to see the ruffed grouse during my walks. One of my neighbors heard one
drumming yesterday in the early evening.

The buds on the red maples are getting ready to burst. The reddish buds look beautiful against the blue sky on a clear day.
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