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Nature of New England                           


Nature Journal

Notes about birds, mammals, wildflowers, insects, and more
Sunday, September 29, 2002

Heard some ravens in the trees outside my window this morning. Looked out and saw a small flock of them. Could hear both the call of the adults and the higher-pitched call of the juveniles. Ravens can be distinguished from crows by the raven's thicker bill and larger size.

During the fall and winter, hundreds of these birds may roost together at night. Then, in the daytime hours, the ravens fly in much smaller groups in search of food. If you're interested in learning more about this bird's roosting habits, check out this web page.

Saturday, September 28, 2002
Maple Leaf FoliageHere's a small maple leaf I found in the woods. Looks like some bugs ate a few holes in it.

The leaves on the trees are beginning to turn in southern Vermont, but it will be a little while longer before the fall foliage reaches its peak.

Meanwhile, here are some fall foliage photos from a previous season.
Friday, September 27, 2002

Saw the wild turkeys again this afternoon. First a hen came out of the woods and made a "regrouping" call. Then 8 younger turkeys followed her out of the woods. Finally a second hen emerged.

Of the 8 younger turkeys, 2 or 3 were quite a bit smaller. The others have now grown almost as large as the hens. So it looks like there are two hens with their broods - one brood being older than the other.

The juvenile males split off from the family group some time in the fall and form their own flocks. So this may be why the broods seem so small. (The hen usually lays 10 to 13 eggs.) Or the hens may have lost a lot of young ones - or eggs - to predators this year.

Thursday, September 26, 2002
Pickerel FrogTook this picture of a pickerel frog at my neighbor's house.

This frog is similar in appearance to the northern leopard frog. The most noticeable difference is that the leopard frog has spots that are roundish and the pickerel frog has spots that are more squarish or rectangular.
  Click to enlarge      
Wednesday, September 25, 2002
The acorns have begun dropping off the oak trees. The eastern chipmunks and squirrels are more active now as they gather the acorns to store in their underground caches.

The wild turkey, white-tailed deer and black bear also take advantage of this nutritious food.
Tuesday, September 24, 2002
Sunset GlowI saw this beautiful glow in the sky last night as the sun was setting.

Since my house is on the east side of the hill, I can't see the actual sunset. But sometimes the sky lights up with this pinkish glow. Usually just to the south, but on some evenings
you can see it in all directions. Click to enlarge    
Monday, September 23, 2002
Here's a good web site about how to learn bird songs. It lists the mnemonics (words to help you remember) for the songs and calls of hundreds of birds.

In learning to identify bird songs, sometimes it helps to write down your own mnemonic while you hear the bird singing. Or draw a graphical representation of it - for example, draw a line that goes up and down in the same way that the song does.
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