Current Journal


Nature of New England                           


Nature Journal

Notes about birds, mammals, wildflowers, insects, and more
Sunday, October 6, 2002

Hemlock Varnish ShelfTook this photo of the Hemlock Varnish Shelf (Ganoderma tsugae) on one of my walks in the woods.

There are actually two in this photo. The one on the left is overlapping a smaller one on the right.

This fungus is generally found Click to enlarge    
on dead hemlock trees and stumps.
Saturday, October 5, 2002
Hawk migration is in full swing. Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, in Eastern Pennsylvania, is widely known as a prime hawk-watching site. Mid-October is the best time to see the greatest variety of raptors at this location.

At their website, you'll find the 2002 fall hawk count statistics and a list of the free weekend programs and daily nature talks that are available. You can also watch virtual tours (videos) of over ten hawk-watching areas at the Sanctuary. Some nice vistas!
Friday, October 4, 2002
Partridgeberry With FruitHere's a picture of the tiny partridgeberry plant with ripe fruit. I found it in the woods growing near some hemlock trees - along with four different species of moss and lichen.

Each plant has two flowers which join to form a single berry in the fall.
Click to enlarge    
Thursday, October 3, 2002
Most of the lance-leaved goldenrod has gone to seed, but the New England asters and the nodding ladies' tresses are still blooming. There are also a few red clovers still blooming.

Since early morning I've been hearing the honking of the Canada geese as they migrate south. One flock after the other has been passing by - sometimes as often as 15 minutes apart.

Went out to a more open area this afternoon and could see two flocks at the same time. It's early evening and I hear yet another flock coming now! Wonder why there are so many migrating on this day in particular.
Wednesday, October 2, 2002
Ruffed GrouseHave been seeing a ruffed grouse quite regularly on one of my usual walks. (Don't know if it is the same individual bird each time.)  Not realizing it's there, I walk too close and startle it.

Then the whir of its wings, as it flies off, startles ME. Sometimes it flies across my path, but too quickly for me to get a good look at it.

I occasionally see a female grouse with its young during the summer - and do have a better chance to observe them at that time.

Click to enlarge     

The male doesn't participate in the nest-building activities or in caring for the young. So if you see an adult grouse with young in the summer, you can be pretty sure it's a female.
Tuesday, October 1, 2002
Yesterday I came across a small flock of black-capped chickadees in the woods, along with a couple of
white-breasted nuthatches.

Nuthatches often flock together with chickadees as winter approaches. Other birds also join chickadee flocks, including tufted titmice, brown creepers, and downy woodpeckers.

Above the sounds of the chickadees and nuthatches, I could hear the calls of the Canada geese on their way south.
Monday, September 30, 2002
White PineLike deciduous trees lose their leaves, conifer trees also lose needles in the fall. They become brown first, as can be seen in this close-up photo of a white pine.

Of course, conifer trees don't lose all of their needles. Throughout the
year, about a third of their needles fall - and new ones take their place. Click to enlarge    
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