Nature of New England                           


Nature Journal

Notes about birds, mammals, wildflowers, insects, and more
I heard the beautiful song of a wood thrush near the house this afternoon. And there are so many other things that I'd like to tell you about.

However, my nature writing has come to an end for now. I look forward to the time when I can begin again.
Thursday, July 22, 2004
The birds are quieting down now that we're into the summer. Still hear some birds in the mornings, but there's not too much singing in the afternoons - especially on hot days.

My "local" doe and her fawn(s) are being pretty secretive this year. Spotted the doe yesterday for a few moments, but that was the first time since July 5th.

Over the past few weeks, I've been seeing the tracks and scat of a red fox. No sightings, though.
Sunday, July 18, 2004
Common MilkweedThe Yellow Wood-Sorrel, the Common Cattail, and one species of goldenrod have started blooming.

Wildflowers that are still in bloom include the Common Milkweed (see photo), Oxeye Daisy, Yarrow, Purple-flowering Raspberry, Black-
eyed Susan, Common Cinquefoil,
Red Clover, and White Clover.
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Yesterday afternoon, I was hearing the begging calls of young barred owls. My guess is that they were already flying on their own, since the sounds came from different trees. A little later, some blue jays started making alarm calls. It stopped for a while, then started again in earnest.

I looked out the window and saw an adult barred owl flying away from the general area where I'd seen it last Thursday. It was pursued by about 5 or 6 blue jays. There might have been other birds in there, but they flew by in a blur and all I heard was "jay, jay, jay,..."

This time the barred owl was clutching something that looked larger than what it had found during the last successful foraging trip I had witnessed. Based on the fact that the blue jays were the main (or only) birds in pursuit, I'd have to suspect that it was a nestling or fledgling blue jay.

Some time later, I again heard the begging calls of fledging barred owls. Guess that meal didn't satisfy them for long!
Saturday, July 10, 2004
Hermit Thrush at NestI was woken up early this morning by the song of a hermit thrush. They have such a beautiful, ethereal song! I often hear this bird in the deeper woods, but rarely see or hear it near the house.
I went back to sleep and woke up a
little while later to the song of a phoebe.
Other birds were singing by that time, but
the phoebe was playing the role of the soloist.
Wednesday, July 7, 2004

I've seen a couple of wild turkeys recently - on separate occasions. They hadn't been around for a while. At least one of them was a female, but with no brood in tow.

Yesterday, I spotted my first ruby-throated hummingbird of the year. They've been in the area, I just hadn't seen one yet. Today, a ruffed grouse flew across my path. It seemed smallish, so it might have been a juvenile.

And I continue to see the tracks of my "local doe" and her fawn. On Monday, I unintentionally startled the doe while I was out walking. She fled, making a lot of noise - which makes me wonder if she was with one of her fawns. The doe will often try to draw attention to herself this way, in order to distract a potential predator from the fawn's hiding place.

Sunday, July 4, 2004
VeeryRecently I was walking though a small grassy area in the woods, when suddenly a bird flew up out of the grass at my feet. It was a Veery and it was fast! I might have stepped right on that little bird if it hadn't flown.
I looked down and saw a small nest concealed in the grass. It was lined with
what looked like thin strips of bark and held 4 bluish eggs.
After taking a few moments to observe the nest, I moved away.

If I can find a way to go back without disturbing the Veery, I'd love to see the nestlings when they hatch. Maybe I can find a spot at a distance where I can watch without being noticed.
Thursday, July 1, 2004

Two days ago, I heard alarm calls from some woodpeckers nearby. By the calls, I'd guess they were hairy woodpeckers.

I looked outside, but couldn't see what was going on. After a while, a barred owl suddenly burst out from behind some leaves. Carrying something small that I assume was a nestling woodpecker, it flew over the house and out of sight. The alarm calls stopped right after that.

This afternoon, the woodpeckers started making alarm calls again. As I went to the window, I saw a barred owl fly by the house with about five or six birds in pursuit. I couldn't identify the birds, but I know that at least two were woodpeckers because they were calling all the while. This time the owl was empty-handed.

After it flew a short ways, the owl stopped on a branch. But the birds continued to harass it until it finally flew out of sight.

Today I saw the tracks of a fawn. I've been looking for those tracks for a while, since I had assumed that my "local doe" had given birth by this time. Hope I get a chance to see her fawn (or fawns). I think this is the second or third year this particular doe has been in the area, so she probably had more than one fawn this year.

Monday, June 28, 2004
White-breasted Nuthatch AdultThis is the time of the year when we begin to see adult birds with their fledglings. A few mornings ago, I saw several young white-breasted nuthatches on the trunk of a tree outside my window. Their parents must have been close by, but I didn't catch sight of them.

And the adult and juvenile robins have been busily feeding on the ground. The young
birds can be identified by the spots on their breast.

Over the past few weeks, more wildflowers have blooming including the Purple-flowering Raspberry and the Black-eyed Susan. The flowers just started opening yesterday on the Common Milkweed.
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