Nature

  • Nature: A woodpecker’s drum roll is its love song 

    Nature: A woodpecker’s drum roll is its love song 

    This is the start of new month and March will have many surprises in nature for us to uncover. The sun climbs higher in the sky and days will grow appreciably longer. The sap will run and pussy willows will bloom. The winter bills of starlings will show tinges of yellow. The calendars say ‘spring’ and all life is anxious to get on with it. 

  • Nature: Duck, duck…more ducks 

    Nature: Duck, duck…more ducks 

    February is still showing us winter conditions and hardy souls slip and slide while walking outside. Birding is still an option and watching for wildlife from local docks can be very rewarding, Eiders are much in evidence as well as long-tailed ducks. Guillemots are still in their winter plumage and they are always fun to see.

  • Nature: Naming of the shrews 

    Nature: Naming of the shrews 

    Frigid winds and winter snows keep many of us indoors this month. After a snowfall, our trees and shrubs glisten like diamonds and we know for sure it’s February. In spite of the weather, chickadees seem to enjoy a good snowstorm and kinglets look for food unconcernedly. Shrews hunt even in sub-zero temperatures for they need to always be eating to survive. Unless a cat brings one in and you recognize it as something other than a mouse, you may never know they’re around.  

  • Nature: Things are seldom what they seem

    Nature: Things are seldom what they seem

    Mockingbirds used to be Southern birds only, with maybe an occasional summer visitor seen here on MDI. We moved to Maine in 1972, and, at that time they were considered seasonal birds here on Mount Desert Island. Through the years, their numbers increased and then some started staying through the winter in certain areas, though they are still not commonly seen in northern Maine.

  • Nature: Nothing dampens the spirit of a tree sparrow

    Nature: Nothing dampens the spirit of a tree sparrow

    Regardless of the weather – cold, wet or clear – nothing dampens the spirit of a tree sparrow. This bird is easy to recognize for it has a reddish cap and a single black breast spot. Here on our island, we see it in January foraging through wet fields, clinging to a grass stalk to grab seeds or stopping at feeders. This attractive sparrow is with us throughout the winter up to middle or late April.

  • Nature: When it snows, the hunted breathe a bit easier 

    Nature: When it snows, the hunted breathe a bit easier 

    A New Year begins for us and all the wildlife sharing this island with us and there are still a few surprises to be had. A friend in Bar Harbor saw a turkey vulture flying over Eagle Lake on Dec. 31. Vultures are usually enjoying the sun and beach much farther south. These large birds are usually gone by the end of September and don’t return until

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