Sunday, December 14, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
It turns out that "Although few people seem to realize it, the muskrat, although rodent, eats a quantity of animal foods. He will eat clams, snails, crayfish, fish, frogs, reptiles, young birds, and carrion, including other muskrats." (source: North American Mammals by Roger A. Caras)
Thursday, November 13, 2008
* Placing feeders and baths at least 25 feet from windows, or no more than 1-3 feet (so impacts will be at low-velocity) from windows.
* Draping a thin netting or soft fabric screen over the outside of the window. This is supposedly 100% effective, and netting shouldn't obstruct your view too much.
* Making sure windows are shaded to reduce reflections which can trick birds.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
During an outdoor lunch meeting, a very interesting bug called a Western Conifer Seed Bug was found. Although this one was found outside, it is common to find them indoors or around buildings at this time of year, as they attempt to flee from the cold weather. If you find one inside, don't worry! Despite their large size (up to 2 cm.) and intimidating appearance, they are harmless to humans and pets (except for a foul odor they can produce when threatened).
Monday, October 13, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Another beautiful day at the Nature Center. One of our latest blooming flowers, Witch Hazel, began to blossom this week. Look for this indicator of autumn directly adjacent to the NBNC parking lot, on the far side from the building.
To identify Witch Hazel, look for the broadly obovate (egg shaped), alternating leaves, which are asymmetrical at the base, with wavy margins. A popular ornamental plant, Witch Hazel has been revered for its use by "water diviners", who use the branches to locate underground water. More practically, an extract can be obtained from its bark, and mixed with alcohol for use as an astringent.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Monarchs have still been passing through the Nature Center, and after some re-fueling at the butterfly garden, three Monarchs were tagged as part of our Monarch Tagging efforts. Also, possibly the same Mourning Cloak seen earlier in the week has stuck close to the building. It has been nectaring on crab apples, occasionally fluttering its wings to dissuade the flies and wasps which compete for the fruits.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
It was a bright and sunny day for the Dead Creek Wildlife Festival. Painted Turtles basked on logs. Butterflies were still aloft (Clouded Sulfur pictured on left), as were many birds. Some highlights included Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, and Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow. Participants of the bird banding demonstration were welcomed with the opportunity to view songbirds and raptors up close(Sharp-shinned Hawk on right). With a myriad of activities from carving decoys to building bird houses, a good time was had by all.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
A rare Variegated Fritillary was discovered in the Community Garden today, found by a participant of our Monarch tagging workshop. This butterfly is known to stray north from their usual southern breeding grounds south of New England. This is actually the second time Variegated Fritillary has been observed at the Nature Center, but the last time was nearly ten years ago!
Friday, September 5, 2008
Mosquitos were out in force for our first bird walk of the fall, but so were the warblers!
Barred Owl (calling)
Blue-headed Vireo (2)
Black-throated Green Warbler (2)
Blackburnian Warbler (1)
Pine Warbler (singing)
American Redstart (2)
Canada Warbler (1)
Scarlet Tanager (female)
American Goldfinch (feeding young)
A possible Merlin also zipped passed the group, but was not seen well or again .
Thursday, August 14, 2008
August 14 , 2008
The summer camp season is winding down, and it is time for a long hiatus from Nature News updates to come to a close. The first news item to break the silence will be that of the Montpelier BioBlitz, which took place from 3pm July 11th to 3pm July 12th. Nearly 200 scientists from as far as Kansas converged on Montpelier, and identified approximately 1,500 species. A full list of results can be found at the BioBlitz website: www.NorthBranchNatureCenter.org/bioblitz.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
The entire summer camp group was able to witness the Merlin as it hopped about in the leaves, and eventually took off across the street. Other highlights from the camp's morning bird walks were Ravens being mobbed by crows, and good looks at an Ovenbird.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Today, a parasitic wasp called a Giant Ichneumon visited a tree trunk which had been marred by a Pileated Woodpecker. The tree needed to be cut due to proximity to the road, and has been standing as decoration at the Nature Center's front door. The wasp remained on the trunk throughout the day, with its ovipositor embedded within the bark, giving our summer campers ample opportunities to observe this unique and beautiful insect.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Thursday, June 5, 2008
During a school group visit today, the discussion was about Salamanders. On our hike in search of the slippery amphibians, we found an impressive five species of salamander (half of the ten species found in Vermont)! Our list is as follows:
* Eastern Red-backed Salamander
* Northern Dusky Salamander
* Northern Two-lined Salamander
* Spring Salamander
* Eastern Newt (Red Eft) [pictured to the right]
Although our attention was focused on the ground while we searched, we heard many birds during our hike, including American Crow, Winter Wren , Blackburnian Warbler, Ovenbird, and Scarlet Tanager.
Monday, June 2, 2008
For many years, NBNC has participated in a Monarch Butterfly tagging program, placing little stickers with "serial numbers" on the wings of the Mexico-bound butterflies. Last year we allowed the public to join us in this project, and it appears our efforts have paid off. For the first time, a monarch tagged at the Nature Center was recovered in Mexico!
The butterfly was tagged on September 12th, 2007 (our first public-tagging day) with the "serial number" of JNH 286. The butterfly, a male captured from the wild, was recovered in Cerro Pelon, Mexico by Melquieles Moreno, on March 6th, 2008. Having flown over 2,000 miles to reach his overwintering site, it is truly an extraordinary feat that this migration occurs, and that we have been able to track this individual butterfly. Thanks to those who helped with the tagging effort last year!
On another lepidopteral note, a Nessus Sphinx moth, which is a type of hummingbird moth, visited the Lilac bushes during lunch today. Photo by Larry Clarfeld
Saturday, May 31, 2008
American Black Duck
Great Blue Heron
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Friday, May 30, 2008
Great Blue Heron
Eastern Kingbird (building nest)
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Bog Haunter Wednesday was Dragonfly Day at a fen in Washington County. There we encountered one of Vermon'ts rarest insects, Ebony Boghaunter (pictured to the right). This tiny dark dragonfly is known from only three sites in the state. We also found the following other dragonflies on the wing (with a few photo links):
Other notable sightings included Canadian Tiger Swallowtail, Mustard White, Spring Azure and Brown Elfin.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
Pileated Woodpecker White-breasted Nuthatch Black-throated Green Warbler
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Winter Wren Blackburnian Warbler
Eastern Phoebe Veery Pine Warbler
Red-eyed Vireo Hermit Thrush American Redstart
Blue Jay American Robin Ovenbird
American Crow Northern Parula Scarlet Tanager
Black-capped Chickadee Black-throated Blue Warbler American Goldfinch
Red-breasted Nuthatch Yellow-rumped Warbler
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
|Muse Swan||Short-billed Dowitcher||Marsh Wren|
|Snow Goose||American Woodcock||Blue-gray Gnatcatcher|
|Brant||Laughing Gull||Eastern Bluebird|
|Canada Goose||Ring-billed Gull||Veery|
|Wood Duck||Herring Gull||Wood Thrush|
|Gadwall||Great Black-backed Gull||American Robin|
|American Black Duck||Gull-billed Tern||Gray Catbird|
|Mallard||Royal Tern||Northern Mockingbird|
|Blue-winged Teal||Common Tern||Brown Thrasher|
|Black Scoter||Forster's Tern||European Starling|
|Red-breasted Merganaser||Least Tern||Cedar Waxwing|
|Wild Turkey||Mourning Dove||Nashville Warbler|
|Common Looon||Rock Pigeon||Northern Parula|
|Northern Gannet||Black-billed Cuckoo||Yellow Warbler|
|Double-crested Cormorant||Eastern Screech-Owl||Chestnut-sided Warbler|
|Great Blue Heron||Great Horned Owl||Magnolia Warbler|
|Great Egret||Barred Owl||Black-throated Blue Warbler|
|Snowy Egret||Common Nighthawk||Yellow-rumped Warbler|
|Little Blue Heron||Chuck-will's-widow||Black-throated Green Warbler|
|Tricolored Heron||Whip-poor-will||Pine Warbler|
|Cattle Egret||Chimney Swift||Prairie Warler|
|Black-crowned Night-Heron||Ruby-throated Hummingbird||Black-and-white Warbler|
|Glossy Ibis||Belted Kingfisher||American Redstart|
|Black Vulture||Red-headed Woodpecker||Prothonotary Warbler|
|Turkey Vulture||Red-bellied Woodpecker||Worm-eating Warbler|
|Bald Eagle||Hairy Woodpecker||Louisiana Waterthrush|
|Red-tailed Hawk||Northern Flicker||Common Yellowthroat|
|Merlin||Eastern Wood-Pewee||Hooded Warbler|
|Peregrine Falcon||Acadian Flycatcher||Yellow-breasted Chat|
|Clapper Rail||Eastern Phoebe||Scarlet Tanager|
|Sora||Great Crested Flycatcher||Eastern Towhee|
|Black-bellied Plover||Eastern Kingbird||Chipping Sparrow|
|Semipalmated Plover||White-eyed Vireo||Field Sparrow|
|Piping Plover||Red-eyed Vireo||Savannah Sparrow|
|Killdeer||Purple Martin||Seaside Sparrow|
|American Oystercatcher||Gree Swallow||Song Sparrow|
|Greater Yellowlegs||Northern Rough-winged Swallow||White-throated Sparrow|
|Lesser Yellowlegs||Bank Swallow||Northern Cardinal|
|Solitary Sandpiper||Cliff Swallow||Rose-breasted Grosbeak|
|Willet||Barn Swallow||Blue Grosbeak|
|Spotted Sandpiper||Blue Jay||Indigo Bunting|
|Ruddy Turnstone||Fish Crow||Red-winged Blackbird|
|Red Knot||Carolina Chickadee||Boat-tailed Grackle|
|Sanderling||Tufted Titmouse||Common Grackle|
|Semipalmated Sandpiper||White-breasted Nuthatch||Brown-headed Cowbird|
|Least Sandpiper||Brown Creeper||Orchard Oriole|
|Purple Sandpiper||Carolina Wren||House Finch|
|Dunlin||House Wren||American Goldfinch|
Friday, May 9, 2008
Friday, May 2, 2008
Common Loon (pair)
Canada Goose (at least 6)
Wood Duck (pair)
Green-winged Teal (3)
Hooded Merganser (at least 6)
Also seen around Berlin Pond before and after the walk were American Robin, European Starlings, and Yellow-rumped Warblers.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
Also, Heather's Women's Walk on Sunday yielded some nice blooming wildflowers. Trilliums, Bloodroot, Cut-leafed Toothwart, and Meadow Rue (not yet in bloom) were among the botanical treasures that the group encountered.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Wood Frogs 1
Canada Goose (flock of 17 overhead) Tree Swallow
Duck sp. Black-capped Chickadee (1 seen entering nesting cavity)
Turkey Vulture White-breasted Nuthatch
Ruffed Grouse Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Rock Pigeon American Robin
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Yellow-rumped Warbler
Downy Woodpecker Northern Cardinal
Hairy Woodpecker Savannah Sparrow
Northern Flicker Song Sparrow
Eastern Phoebe White-throated Sparrow
Blue Jay Red-winged Blackbird
Blue-headed Vireo Common Grackle
On another note, with yesterday's Vacation Camp group, we were discussing frogs. The Wood Frogs just recently (this week) began laying their eggs. The group helped start a tank in which we will be rearing the frogs, and we will be posting their progress in development in the Nature News. The first update is from today, at which point not much development has occurred.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Photo by Larry Clarfeld
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Our first butterfly of the year, a Milbert's Tortoiseshell, was spotted sunning itself on the building today. NBNC staff also enjoyed lunch outside for the first time this year, soaking up the sun's rays. During lunch, a pair of Ravens cruised across the fields, and Song Sparrow's and Red-winged Blackbirds sung for us as we ate.
Monday, April 7, 2008
Photo by Larry Clarfeld
Monday, March 31, 2008
On other spring-time notes, Larry saw a barrage of invertebrates in Winooski yesterday, including moths, stoneflies, and spiders.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
In other news, Common Redpolls were present at the feeders this morning, along with a Red-winged Blackbird, and the usual mass of Chickadees.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Other bird sightings made by Larry yesterday include a Killdeer near Warren, a Turkey Vulture near the town of Middlesex, a Barred Owl in Wocester, and a Northern Shrike on Rt. 12 between Wocester and the Nature Center.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
Friday, March 7, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Monday, January 14, 2008
Twelve teams, totaling 29 participants participated in this year's Plainfield Christmas Bird Count, recording 4855 birds of 36 species. Some highlights include 12 American Robins, 40 Northern Cardinals, and 412 Bohemian Waxwings (all record high counts for the Plainfield CBC). Along with Bohemian Waxwings, Pine Grosbeaks were also seen in greater-than-usual numbers, indicating the major irruption of these northern species this winter. Lower-than-usual numbers of Golden-crowned Kinglets and Red-breasted Nuthatches were reported this year. The complete results of the Plainfield CBC are shown below:
Canada Goose 1 Tufted Titmouse 7
Mallard 21 Red-breasted Nuthatch 15
Hooded Merganser 2 White-breasted Nuthatch 39
Ruffed Grouse 2 Brown Creeper 2
Wild Turkey 384 Golden-crowned Kinglet 2
2 American Robin 12
2 European Starling 478
Rock Pigeon 557 Bohemian Waxwing 412
Mourning Dove 174 Cedar Waxwing 1
Barred Owl 3 American Tree Sparrow 59
Downy Woodpecker 50 Dark-eyed (Slate-colored) Junco 42
Hairy Woodpecker 41 Northern Cardinal 40
Pileated Woodpecker 3 Pine Grosbeak 202
Blue Jay 200 House Finch 25
American Crow 221 Common Redpoll 162
Common Raven 35 American Goldfinch 19
Horned Lark 11 Evening Grosbeak 48
Black-capped Chickadee 1521 House Sparrow 60
Also seen Count Week were Carolina Wren and Snow Bunting.