Current Journal


Nature of New England                           


Nature Journal

Notes about birds, mammals, wildflowers, insects, and more
  Friday, December 26, 2003
  A group of nine wild turkeys walked by the house this morning. I only noticed one that had a beard. The others must have been females or juvenile males. In the winter, adult males will sometimes join a family group consisting of a female
  and her juvenile offspring.
There was a flock of about 20 evening grosbeaks below my feeder yesterday. This was their first visit since I originally saw them on the 14th.

A couple of days ago, the first juncos of the year put in an appearance. They were eating weed seeds from the ground near the house. There were a lot of other birds under the feeder, so perhaps they were waiting their turn.

The common redpolls have been visiting the feeder almost every day since I first saw them on the 14th.
  Wednesday, December 24, 2003
  I haven't seen any wild turkeys for a long time. But today I saw some turkey tracks. Quite a few of them.

My neighbors have been seeing ruffed grouse fairly frequently over the past week or two. But no sign of them in my area.

I just watched two deer walking through the snow behind my house. We're having rainy, foggy weather - so I couldn't see them very clearly. One deer was noticeably smaller than the other, so I suspect it was a doe and her grown fawn.
  Sunday, December 21, 2003
  Red FoxI heard the barred owl calling again a couple of nights ago.

When I was out walking today, I noticed a lot of deer tracks in the snow. So I guess they're out and about again.
I also saw the tracks of the red fox.
Some tracks were direct-registering (where
the hind foot falls directly in the track of the
front foot). This is the red fox's walking pattern. Other tracks were in the 2-2 pattern that is seen when a fox is trotting.
  Thursday, December 18, 2003
  In the early mornings, I've been hearing the nasal "nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah..." call of the red-breasted nuthatch. This little bird is one of my favorites.

This afternoon, I saw two ravens flying above the treetops. They were alternately flapping their wings and soaring. Ravens can be distinguished from crows by their heavy bills. Also, crows don't soar.

At first, these two ravens were making hoarse "kraaah" calls and then later I heard their "kolp, kolp" calls.
  Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Common RedpollHave been seeing more common redpolls at my feeder. Yesterday, there was a flock of about 20-25.

During Sunday and Monday, we had
another 14 inches of snow. When I was out walking today, I didn't see

  any deer tracks. They must be staying
in the more sheltered areas now. With the
snow being so deep, it makes travel a lot harder
for the deer.

I did see a lot of squirrel tracks, mice tracks, and the tracks of an unidentified medium-sized bird.
  Sunday, December 14, 2003
  Yesterday, a flock of about 10 evening grosbeaks visited my feeder. First there was just one, calling "peeer, peeer" from the top of the feeder pole. Then about fifteen minutes later, the whole flock arrived.

A smaller flock of common redpolls also stopped by. Both groups were mostly feeding on the ground below the birdfeeders.

In the past, I've rarely seen either of these species at the feeder - and then only one or two birds at a time. So this was a pleasant surprise!
  Friday, December 12, 2003
  Remnants of Bird's NestIn October of last year, I noticed this bird's nest. I watched it over the next 10 months or so - to see if another bird or any other little creature would make use of it. There weren't any signs of anything happening during that time, so I stopped watching it.

Today, I saw the remains of this nest hanging from a branch. I suspect that the
  nest was brought down by the high winds we were having a while back.
  Tuesday, December 9, 2003

I put my birdfeeders out a couple of days ago. So far, I've been seeing chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches, red-breasted nuthatches, goldfinches, and blue jays.

It's been very interesting to watch each bird interact with other members of its own species. And also to watch one species interact with other species - for example, the chickadees with the blue jays.

Those little chickadees are the first ones back after the blue jays fly from the feeders to a nearby tree. And when a blue jay is on one feeder, the chickadees fly up, down, around, and in circles in an effort to find a spot on a nearby feeder where they can feel safe.

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