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Nature's Notebook

Rabbits, rabbits, everywhere!

As I left my driveway this morning and headed down the dirt road to get to Route 4 in Sharon, I had to stop several times to avoid hitting the rabbits that seemed to be coming from every corner of the yard. This has been going on for quite a while now, and I know it is not unique to my yard as I have been getting a lot of questions about rabbits lately.

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Rock solid case for saving our stone walls

Nature's Notebook

The ghost of a snake rail fence zigzags through the woods. I can tell its old location by the line of stones that once were piled at its base.

Stirrings

Nature's Notebook

I tapped my maple tree last week. The temperatures had reached the low 50s and the forecast called for a series of days with the right balance of freeze and thaw conditions required to get the sap running.
The fact that it was the first day of February and earlier by several weeks than is usual for my two-bucket operation to commence was offset by something deep within my being that is done with this mild winter and responds to the stirrings, however premature they may be, in the world outside.

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Making a difference

Nature's Notebook
sheth@audubon.org

Knowing population trends, migratory movements and habitat requirements is extremely important in determining how to protect and conserve birds.

What a difference a year makes

Nature's Notebook
sheth@audubon.org

What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time we were knee-deep in snow. This year, until perhaps recently, we were on target for one of the warmest winters on record.

Blue notes in the season of color

Nature's Notebook

I have an admission to make. While I can be inspired to write movingly about the natural world, and draw inspiration from the spinning stars and the pageant of the seasons, I am a curmudgeon when it comes to fall color.

Perhaps there is something in my New Englander’s soul that expects my anticipation to end in disappointment — rather like the classic boom-and-bust display of the Red Sox this season.

Summer’s bounty

Nature's Notebook
sheth@audubon.org

You can feel the changes in seasons already.  Early mornings are cooler, the days are shorter and the forests are noticeably quieter having lost many of the singing migratory birds to parts south. I like this time of year a lot. There is still plenty of warm weather to come for those of us who think in terms of “half full” rather than “half empty” and there is even more to see in our woods and meadows than in previous months.

Mountain lions seen at last?

Nature's Notebook

Last Saturday, a 140-pound male Eastern mountain lion was struck and killed on the Wilbur Cross Parkway in Milford, Conn. There were strong sightings the week before in Greenwich, about 30 miles away, quite possibly the same animal.

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection is working on the standard hypothesis that this was an illegally held captive animal that somehow got loose, perhaps wandering over from New York, as the eastern mountain lion is officially extinct outside of the Florida panther subspecies.

No, it’s not a lost kite

Nature's Notebook

They aren’t Chinese lanterns. They aren’t abandoned kites caught in the gnarled fingers of the uppermost branches. Those purple things hanging in trees across Connecticut are actually bug traps.
The emerald ash borer (EAB), a beetle native to eastern Asia, has invaded the eastern part of the United States.
The bugs kill ash trees. Adults deposit their larvae one by one into the tree. The larvae feed on the inner bark. When they are fully formed adults and ready to emerge, they burrow out head first, creating a D-shaped exit hole.

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Young birders

Nature's Notebook

Young birders
A couple weeks ago we ran our Audubon Bird-a-thon. It’s a typical “-thon” in most ways, but instead of collecting pledges for how many miles we walk, people pledged based on how many bird species our various teams saw. Here in northwest Connecticut, with among the highest diversity of breeding birds in the country, we can often accumulate quite a list.

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