Current Journal


Nature of New England                           


Nature Journal

Notes about birds, mammals, wildflowers, insects, and more
Sunday, December 1, 2002

Black Cherry TreeThis is the bark of a black cherry tree. If you look closely, you can that this tree has quite a few woodpecker holes.

Many species of butterflies and moths (and their caterpillars) feed on the flower nectar and leaves of this tree. An example is the eastern tiger swallowtail, which enjoys the nectar of

the black cherry flowers.

When the cherries ripen in the fall, a wide variety of birds and mammals take advantage of this ready source of food. Some ground-dwelling birds, such as the ruffed grouse and ring-necked pheasant, will eat the fruit after it has fallen. Other birds, such as cedar waxwings and woodpeckers, will eat the fruit right from the tree.
Saturday, November 30, 2002
Here's an update on my squirrel observations. Today I saw two red squirrels and two gray squirrels in the area of my bird feeder. To my surprise - after observing their behavior on Nov. 26th - one red squirrel chased both grays away. AND it also chased the other red squirrel away. (I should have guessed that that would happen!)

The grays kept coming back but finally the red squirrel was in it's favorite spot - right under the feeder - and the grays stayed out of sight. At that point, having established its dominance, the red squirrel let one of the grays come back - but not too close. Those red ones sure are territorial!
Friday, November 29, 2002
Snowy MorningWe've been having some snowy days lately. Took this photo on a recent morning.

We had snow much earlier than usual this year and the weather has been unseasonably cold during November.
Was hoping that we'd have some warmer weather before the winter sets in,
but it's looking less likely every day. <sigh>
Thursday, November 28, 2002

There were red fox tracks along side the house this morning. It gives me a nice feeling to think about the different animals that come by my house during the night.

In the summer, I don't usually see the tracks - because I'm not skilled enough in detecting them. But when there's snow on the ground, it gets a LOT easier.

Sometimes, during winter nights, I can hear the whitetail deer walking along a deer trail near my house. As their hooves hit the snow, they make a sound like "chink, chink, chink..." - and I smile to myself, enjoying the thought that the deer are out there.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Tree Silhouettes Against SkyHere's a photo showing the tops of some trees against the late afternoon sky. At the very bottom you can see the mountains in the distance.

That's the top of an eastern white pine tree on the right. This particular

tree has full branches pretty much Click to enlarge    
all the way down the trunk, since it's
growing in a fairly open area near a field.
White pines that grow in denser woods have full branches near the top, but lose their lower branches over time.
The seeds from the white pine provide food for red squirrels, chipmunks, and some mice. Various birds also feed on the seeds of this tree.
Tuesday, November 26, 2002
I mentioned recently that I don't often see gray squirrels near my house. And that I had heard that red squirrels will drive gray squirrels away. Well, I saw two big grays below my bird feeder today. And a red squirrel was there, too.

The red squirrel kept moving toward the gray squirrels in a threatening manner. But the grays would just move away a little, and the red one would go back to eating for a while. Maybe one red squirrel is no match for two grays.

If the tables were turned and there were two red squirrels and one gray squirrel, would they have been able to chase the gray squirrel away? Stay tuned.
Monday, November 25, 2002
Highbush CranberryThis is the (now leafless) highbush cranberry that I saw in the fall. It's kind of intertwined with some trees - including a young beech whose branches you can see in the photo.

Last fall, I was wondering if the birds would eat the red berries from this bush. They've eaten some, but there are still a lot there.

They used to pick clean a highbush cranberry that was about 20 feet away. That bush was cut down a couple of years ago - along with some other brush. I'm surprised that the birds aren't eating many berries from this particular bush - especially now that the other one is gone.
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