Current Journal


Nature of New England                           


Nature Journal

Notes about birds, mammals, wildflowers, insects, and more
Sunday, December 29, 2002
Deer Tracks in SnowI see that the whitetail deer have been browsing near the house during the night.

Now that there's more snow on the ground, it's harder for them to find food. And getting around in the deeper snow is more difficult.
Saturday, December 28, 2002
This morning I heard the "fee-beee" call of a black-capped chickadee. It repeated the call several times. I don't often hear this particular call in the winter. Instead it's the "chick-a-dee-dee-dee" song or high-pitched "tseet" call that I hear at this time of the year.

Only the males make the "fee-beee" call - and it's heard most often in the spring when the males are establishing their breeding territory.
Friday, December 27, 2002
I took a few photos after the snow we had on Wednesday. In the picture on the right, I was actually trying to photograph a bird that was sitting on the little sapling in the foreground.

The bird flew away, but I took the
the picture anyway.

This photo reminds me of a special feeling I get sometimes when I'm in the woods. Reminds me of the quietness of the woods in the winter.
Thursday, December 26, 2002
We had about 18 inches of snow yesterday afternoon and evening. I've always been fascinated by the different shapes of snow flakes. So I went looking for a website with photos of them.

Here's a site that has some beautiful photos of snow crystals. You can really see the intricate detail when you enlarge them. It also has a page that explains the underlying physics - and describes the difference between snow crystals and snow flakes.
Wednesday, December 25, 2002

The latest Christmas Bird Count shows that the range of the red-bellied woodpecker is moving further into New England.

I keep hoping to see one in my woods - or at the feeder - but I believe they like more open woodlands than we have here. And I think they also prefer lower elevations.

I have an idea of one potential spot where they might be found down in the valley.

Maybe I'll spend some time there in the
spring or summer - too much snow on the
ground now.
Tuesday, December 24, 2002
I sometimes see mice outside (not inside, thankfully). The ones I see have white feet but I haven't been able to determine if they are deer mice or white-footed mice. Or maybe I'm seeing both of them at different times.

They say that the woodland form of the deer mouse (the form found in the East) has a longer tail and tawnier color than the white-footed mouse. And the deer mouse is supposed to have a distinctly bi-colored tail.

Guess I'll have to look more closely next time. Now, if I could just get them to stand side by side. :)
Monday, December 23, 2002

Northern Red OaksWinter is a good time to observe the shapes of trees. The photo to the right shows the shape of the northern red oak tree. In the center of the picture is a group of four oaks.

And here's a photo of the crowns of some sugar maples. As you can see,

the silhouette of the sugar maple is very
different from the red oak - the branches of
the maple grow in a much more vertical direction.
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