Login

Nature's Notebook

Bird of a feather

One day during our recent continuous snowstorm I raked the roof on the north side of the house, hoping to avoid an ice buildup. I refilled the bird feeder. And I walked down the south side of the house chinking off icicles.
I heard a muffled whump behind my back. When I turned, I saw a blur of wings near the apple tree. A large bird took off and landed on a branch on the ash tree at the front of the house. A hawk.
My whack at the icicles had made a loud crinkle and apparently startled the hawk’s snatch-and-grab plans.

Full text available to premium subscribers only. Log in or Create an account.

Once you've created an account, you will be given a free 30-day subscription to the site where you can view all content unrestricted. After 30 days, you can extend your account by purchasing a subscription.

If you are already a print subscriber, click here to give us your contact information, and we will confirm your active subscription and give you a password to access the website.

That’s using your head

Wildlife has a way of sabotaging human activity in creative ways. This happened in 1888. The Housatonic Railroad locomotive steamed north daily from Kent through Cornwall Bridge but had to stop at the otherwise insignificant station in West Cornwall to replenish water in its boiler.
On July 8, there was no water in the station’s tank. The stationmaster wired Superintendent W.K. Lyon. Lyon was concerned trains wouldn’t be able to keep to schedule as they continued on to Stockbridge, Lenox and the resorts in the Berkshires.

Full text available to premium subscribers only. Log in or Create an account.

Once you've created an account, you will be given a free 30-day subscription to the site where you can view all content unrestricted. After 30 days, you can extend your account by purchasing a subscription.

If you are already a print subscriber, click here to give us your contact information, and we will confirm your active subscription and give you a password to access the website.

Faith and light

There is something about the quality of sunlight in midwinter that always stirs my spirit. Just the appearance of our pale sun is reason enough to celebrate at this time of year, breaking the monotony of successive, overcast days. Even with the visual contrast offered by a fresh snowfall, the landscape almost cries out for light and shadow, and that low angled sun seems to animate whatever it touches. Clouds are newly tipped with silver, and straw becomes sheaves of gold.

Full text available to premium subscribers only. Log in or Create an account.

Once you've created an account, you will be given a free 30-day subscription to the site where you can view all content unrestricted. After 30 days, you can extend your account by purchasing a subscription.

If you are already a print subscriber, click here to give us your contact information, and we will confirm your active subscription and give you a password to access the website.

Shear fun at Shaker Village

I took the family on an outing to Hancock Shaker Village last weekend. It was a glorious spring day and apparently there were many families with children who had the same idea, because it proved a popular destination.
The big draw was a barn full of baby animals — heirloom breeds in all shapes and sizes — and a sheep-shearing demonstration using both modern and traditional methods. It was quite a transformation to see a shaggy merino ram denuded of its heavy coat from tail to topknot in about 20 minutes of expert shearing.

Full text available to premium subscribers only. Log in or Create an account.

Once you've created an account, you will be given a free 30-day subscription to the site where you can view all content unrestricted. After 30 days, you can extend your account by purchasing a subscription.

If you are already a print subscriber, click here to give us your contact information, and we will confirm your active subscription and give you a password to access the website.

Nature in snow

There is something magical about being in the woods right after a snow. The sounds emanating from silence seem amplified, even more than usual. The trees laced in white tower overhead and release sprinkles of snow with no warning. One is aware of the crunchiness of every step, the labored walking and steamy breath. A red squirrel watches and warns of intruders. A pair of crows make their voices heard as they move through the trees.

Full text available to premium subscribers only. Log in or Create an account.

Once you've created an account, you will be given a free 30-day subscription to the site where you can view all content unrestricted. After 30 days, you can extend your account by purchasing a subscription.

If you are already a print subscriber, click here to give us your contact information, and we will confirm your active subscription and give you a password to access the website.

Nature in snow

There is something magical about being in the woods right after a snow. The sounds emanating from silence seem amplified, even more than usual. The trees laced in white tower overhead and release sprinkles of snow with no warning. One is aware of the crunchiness of every step, the labored walking and steamy breath. A red squirrel watches and warns of intruders. A pair of crows make their voices heard as they move through the trees.

Full text available to premium subscribers only. Log in or Create an account.

Once you've created an account, you will be given a free 30-day subscription to the site where you can view all content unrestricted. After 30 days, you can extend your account by purchasing a subscription.

If you are already a print subscriber, click here to give us your contact information, and we will confirm your active subscription and give you a password to access the website.

Truly ‘cool’ igloo

Seasons have their timed events, exquisite moments when the sap begins to run or raspberries are at their ripest. Miss these, and you miss out on some of the best that nature has to offer and the pure pleasure of being in the right place at the right time. Rarer still are those found moments of time when I have nothing more pressing to do than take advantage of a snowy afternoon with my children and we decide to do something extraordinary together.

Full text available to premium subscribers only. Log in or Create an account.

Once you've created an account, you will be given a free 30-day subscription to the site where you can view all content unrestricted. After 30 days, you can extend your account by purchasing a subscription.

If you are already a print subscriber, click here to give us your contact information, and we will confirm your active subscription and give you a password to access the website.

Where are all the birds?

Nature's Notebook

I enjoyed Tim Abbott’s Nature’s Notebook column last week and agree that a good old-fashioned winter would be great. We had some good cold weather a few weeks ago, but last week proved to be another winter thaw. The sap was in fact flowing and maple syrup producers all across New England are scrambling to get their operations set up for the season— more on that in the next few weeks.

The question of the day, though, has come from people who are concerned about not seeing birds at their feeders, and in some respect this question is related to this recent spell of warm weather.

Winter time

Nature's Notebook

There is something oddly comforting to me at this time of year about persistent snow cover and daylight temperatures that stay below freezing. I worry about mild winters in New England. It doesn’t feel at all right when the sap runs in January, as it did last year, or when our lakes never really ice over. I’d rather spend a few extra mornings shoveling snow than endure a muddy midwinter.

Full text available to premium subscribers only. Log in or Create an account.

Once you've created an account, you will be given a free 30-day subscription to the site where you can view all content unrestricted. After 30 days, you can extend your account by purchasing a subscription.

If you are already a print subscriber, click here to give us your contact information, and we will confirm your active subscription and give you a password to access the website.

Out and about in the New Year

So did you make your New Year’s resolution this year? Maybe you vowed to exercise more, become healthier, spend more time with friends and family or generally add peace to your life. For those of you who read this column on a regular basis, it will come as no surprise that I advocate for spending regular time outside with nature as a means to meet each of these resolutions.
Scientists have found that spending time in natural settings produces lower concentrations of cortisol (“the stress hormone”), a lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure and higher levels of white blood cells.

Full text available to premium subscribers only. Log in or Create an account.

Once you've created an account, you will be given a free 30-day subscription to the site where you can view all content unrestricted. After 30 days, you can extend your account by purchasing a subscription.

If you are already a print subscriber, click here to give us your contact information, and we will confirm your active subscription and give you a password to access the website.