Current Journal


Nature of New England                           


Nature Journal

Notes about birds, mammals, wildflowers, insects, and more
Sunday, December 22, 2002

A couple of days ago, one of my neighbor's saw a Carolina Wren in a bush near her house. She's familiar with this bird, having seen it in the past when living in a more southerly state.

This bird is uncommon in southern Vermont, but it is believed that the Carolina Wren's range is expanding northward. There have been other sightings in Vermont and also at least one report of nesting in this general area.

Saturday, December 21, 2002
I heard the coyotes this morning! At about 6 am, they were yipping and howling. Sounded like they were about a half mile away.

In the past, I'd heard them yipping and yelping when a group of
coyotes had brought down some
prey. But I hadn't heard them howling at
those times - though it could be that they do.

And I've heard individual coyotes howling - or pairs in duet. But I don't remember hearing this yip-howl before.

So I did a little research and found numerous resources that concur that the yip-howl is used by coyotes to "talk" among themselves when they are together. And they say the lone howl is used by single coyotes to locate other members.

I've also heard coyotes howling in groups (without the yipping), but am not sure what this communicates.
Friday, December 20, 2002
Here's the latest update on the squirrels. Today there were two gray squirrels and one red squirrel under the bird feeder.

This time - contrary to my observations on November 30th - the gray squirrels kept chasing the red one away. But this red squirrel looked and acted like a different squirrel than the "dominant" one I saw on Nov. 30th. That one was much more feisty.

Also, I saw a chipmunk today. The weather was in the lower 40's, so I guess it decided it was warm enough for them to come out and look around.
Thursday, December 19, 2002
Late Afternoon SkyCloud-watching is one of my favorite pastimes. Here's a photo of some pretty clouds in the late afternoon sky.

The angle of the sun at this time of year gives a different look to the clouds than what I see in the
Wednesday, December 18, 2002

I haven't heard the coyotes much in the last four years or so - and have only rarely seen their tracks. I thought I might have heard a little whining last year, but wasn't sure if it was a coyote. I hope they come back around this year. I love their "songs."

I remember one winter when I woke up during the night to the sound of a coyote outside my bedroom window. It sang the most beautiful song I think I've ever heard. It went on for about 10 or 15 minutes. Then it stopped and the coyote was gone. I don't think I'll ever forget that experience.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002
Whitetail Deer BrowsingSaw a lot of fresh deer tracks when I was out walking today. Then late in the afternoon, two whitetails appeared near the house - browsing on what they could find.

It spooked them a little when I slowly opened the window, but after a long
wait I managed to get a photo of
one of them. It heard the sound of the
camera and looked up just before I took the picture.
Monday, December 16, 2002

In the summer and fall, I enjoy watching the bats flying near my house. They come out at twilight and I can see their silhouettes against the evening sky.

One evening last summer, while I was standing on my back porch, a bat came whizzing by about two feet from my head. It came from one side of the house and was headed back around the other side.

Just seconds later, another bat - or was it the same one? - came flying by my head again. And soon, yet another one flew by. I still wonder today if it was the same bat flying 'round and 'round my house or if there were several bats.

By this time of year, the bats are nowhere to be seen. Some bats are in hibernation - for example, the little brown bat and the eastern pipistrelle. And some - like the hoary bat - have migrated southward.

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