Current Journal


Nature of New England                           


Nature Journal

Notes about birds, mammals, wildflowers, insects, and more
Sunday, April 6, 2003
The ruby-throated hummingbirds are returning from their wintering grounds in Central America. They have been spotted as far north as Ohio and Indiana.

As with some other birds, the males
return first, with the females arriving
a bit later.

Few, if any, flowers are in bloom when the hummingbirds arrive in
the northern part of their range. So instead of feeding on flower nectar, they drink sap from the holes that yellow-bellied sapsuckers drill in trees. Along with the sap, they also eat insects that are attracted to the sapsucker wells.
Saturday, April 5, 2003
I'm glad to say we only had three or four inches of new snow - instead of 8 to 16 inches! But there was also some rain, so now there's a crust on top of the snow. That may keep the deer from traveling much until it warms up and the crust softens up a little.

I noticed today that a few of the goldfinches have almost completed their molt. But it sure doesn't seem much like spring!

I think it's time for a wildflower-viewing break. Here's a nice photo of fireweed and another of marsh marigolds.
Friday, April 4, 2003
Whitetail DeerThe ground was almost bare for a couple of days there. I didn't see any deer during that time. Then, after the snowfall on Wednesday night, I started seeing them again.

We had about five more inches of snow last night, and I wouldn't be surprised if the deer came down out of the woods this evening at twilight.
They predict 8 to 16 inches of snow this afternoon and tonight. I sure hope it's less,
because the deer and the bears are very hungry this time of year. Snow cover makes it hard for them to find nutritious food.
Thursday, April 3, 2003
Saw a flock of robins feeding on the sumac fruit today. We had a couple of inches of snow last night, which makes it more difficult for seed-eating birds to find food. But there's still plenty of fruit on the sumac bushes for the robins and other birds that eat fruit.

Still haven't seen any signs of the woodcock, though it has been spotted in other nearby areas.
Wednesday, April 2, 2003
One of my neighbors saw a phoebe yesterday. So I know they're back in the area, even though I haven't seen one yet. I thought I heard one a couple of mornings ago, but wasn't quite awake enough to be sure.

In the spring and summer, I regularly see phoebes nearby and hear them singing.
Eastern Phoebe
Last year, one phoebe had a
favorite perch which was visible from
the house. Every so often, it would fly out to catch an insect and then return to its perch. I enjoyed the company of that little phoebe all summer long!
Tuesday, April 1, 2003
Most monarch butterflies spend the winter in central Mexico. Some winter in the northern part of Mexico, along parts of the Gulf coast, and along the southern coast of California.

The monarchs have already left Mexico and have begun their northward migration. They've been spotted in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida. Last year, they began to arrive in New England around the end of May.

The generation of monarchs that migrates to Mexico also begins part of the journey back. These butterflies then reproduce and their offspring continue migrating northward. Depending upon their final destination, it takes about 2 more generations before their migration is complete.
Monday, March 31, 2003
Eastern ChipmunkThe chipmunks have been out of their dens for a while now, but they've been very quiet. Today, I heard a chipmunk making its "chuck, chuck, chuck" sound - very softly.

During the spring and summer the chipmunk often uses this call - but
much louder than I heard today.
I think it might be a territorial behavior.

When walking in the woods in the summer, I'll sometimes hear a chipmunk starting calling "chuck, chuck, chuck" when I unwittingly come too close to its den.
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