Current Journal


Nature of New England                           


Nature Journal

Notes about birds, mammals, wildflowers, insects, and more
Sunday, April 20, 2003

ColtsfootThe coltsfoot is blooming. This wildflower opens with the sunlight and closes up in the late afternoon when the sun is no longer shining directly on it.

Coltsfoot is often found growing in damp areas. This plant is unusual in that the leaves don't appear until after the flower has gone by.

Saturday, April 19, 2003

The preliminary results are in for the Great Backyard Bird Count and can be viewed here. Just select a bird, a year, a region, and click "View the Map." From this page, you can view the results by state.

This page gives a little background on the Great Backyard Bird Count.

Friday, April 18, 2003
Louisiana WaterthrushIn the past few days, the Louisiana waterthrush (at right) and palm warbler have been seen in the New England area.

The Louisiana waterthrush winters in the tropics. The palm warbler winters in the southeastern
United States and the Caribbean.
Thursday, April 17, 2003
The ruby-throated hummingbirds will be arriving very soon in New England. They were spotted in New Jersey and Maryland yesterday.

The monarch butterflies have been seen as far north as North Carolina. But it will be a while before they reach New England.

As the monarchs migrate northward, they look for the milkweed plant, which provides nectar for the adult monarch and is a host plant for the monarch caterpillar. The milkweed is currently blooming as far north as Virginia.
Wednesday, April 16, 2003
Woodpecker Nest Cavity I noticed some small, fresh wood chips today below this dying maple tree. I think there was a downy woodpecker nesting in this tree last summer, but I was never sure.

Both downy and hairy woodpeckers are thought to excavate a new nest site each year. It is said that downies often make a second nest cavity in the same tree that was used the previous year.

There's also another cavity in this same
tree but higher and on the other side. This
second hole is quite a bit larger. I wonder if it's a hairy woodpecker's nesting cavity. Looks pretty big, though. Hmmm...

The new wood chips I saw today were scattered all around the base of the tree, so it's not clear whether they're coming from one or the other of these two holes - or neither.
Tuesday, April 15, 2003
The woodcock was calling "peent, peent, peent" again this evening just before dusk. Went out to try to locate it and found the field that it was calling from.

The "peenting" continued for a while. Then I heard a softer two-note call from the nearby woods. Immediately, I heard the whistling sound that the woodcock's wings make during its courtship flight.

Unfortunately, I couldn't see the woodcock's flight. The moon had been out earlier, but now was behind the clouds. I stayed for another half hour, still hearing the "peenting" calls and the whistling sounds of the woodcock's wings. But I couldn't spot the woodcock itself. It was fun listening, though!
Monday, April 14, 2003
Brook in SpringAs I was heading out to the woods today, I startled a red-tailed hawk from its perch. And saw it soar away, its red tail flashing in the sunlight.

My destination today was this little brook, which often dries up during the middle of the summer. But in the spring it's swollen with melting snow.
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