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Nature of New England                           


                     

Nature Journal

Notes about birds, mammals, wildflowers, insects, and more
 
   
  Sunday, February 8, 2004
   
  Yesterday, I looked out the window and was surprised to see what I think was a barred owl sitting on top of my birdfeeder pole. It looked right at me for a while and then flew off into the woods.

This is either a different barred owl than the one I'm used to seeing around my house in the winter - or it wasn't a barred owl. The coloring was lighter and more yellowish, but the size seemed about right. I saw an owl with this coloring fly by my office window about a month ago. By the time I turned my head to get a good look, it was gone.

I thought maybe this was one of the barred owl fledglings that I saw last summer - just a little older now. However, I've read that, once the juveniles lose their down, they look very much like the adults.

Can't think of any other owl that it could have been. But I have to admit that I was half-asleep and didn't have my glasses on when I first spotted it. By the time I got my glasses on, it had just turned away from me and taken off in flight. Hope I see it again.
   
   
  Thursday, February 5, 2004
   
  Black-capped ChickadeeLately, I've been hearing the black-capped chickadee's loud "fee-bee, fee-bee" call. This is the chickadee's territorial call - which is usually heard in late winter or early spring as the mating season approaches.
  I had thought that the chickadees
never used this call in the winter. But
this year I noticed that, throughout the
winter, they would use the "fee-bee" call
from time to time. Often it would be followed
by the more usual "chick-a-dee-dee" song.
   
   
  Monday, February 2, 2004
   
  Came across some coyote tracks today. Haven't seen their tracks in quite a while - maybe not this winter.

The breeding season for the coyote is coming up soon, so maybe I'll hear their mating "song" sometime this month. Or, if I'm lucky, I'll hear a mating duet - two coyotes singing together. To me, that's a truly beautiful sound.
   
   
  Friday, January 30, 2004
   
  Female Purple FinchFor the first time this winter, I saw a purple finch at my feeder. It was a female - or could have been more than one female coming to the feeder at different times. Didn't see any male purple finches.

I've been seeing my usual chickadees, nuthatches (but not as many as usual), and titmice.
 
  But the goldfinches have been absent for the last several days - except for 2 or 3
that stopped by today. The usual big flock of 25 or 30
is nowhere to be seen. I miss 'em. And no sign recently of the common redpolls either. Sigh...
   
   
  Tuesday, January 27, 2004
   
  When I was out walking today I saw a lot of wild turkey tracks. There were so many of them, my eyes were glued to the ground as I walked - seeing where one turkey went this way and another one went that way.

All of the sudden there was a loud whirring sound. I looked up and saw about 4 or 5 turkeys flying across in front of me. Seconds later another group of about the same size flew by.

I walked a little further, thinking about how the turkeys had surprised me and about how I might have noticed them sooner if my eyes weren't on the ground.

Then I heard that whirring again. In twos and threes the same group of turkeys were flying from a white pine tree nearby. Caught me off-guard again!
   
   
  Saturday, January 24, 2004
   
  Red FoxI haven't yet seen a single red fox this winter, but their tracks and scat are evidence that they're around.

Saw some fresh moose tracks yesterday - not far from where I spotted them last Sunday. There
  were also some wild turkey tracks.
Looked like a group of about three or
four turkeys had wandered through.
   
   
  Wednesday, January 21, 2004
   
  Recently, a whitetail buck has been grazing in the vicinity of the house. I'm pretty sure it's a buck because I can see two little indentations on its head in the area where the antlers would be.

Yesterday, the two deer in the photo shown in last Sunday's journal entry (which I believe to be a doe and her grown fawn) were feeding behind the house. They were keeping an eye on something that was out of my sight. They would graze for a bit, then look up to check on this "something," then go back to grazing.

After I while I noticed that it was this buck they were warily eying. The buck kept to itself and didn't attempt to join the other deer.
   
   
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