An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Archive for March, 2010

Welcome to a photographic journey through the fields, woods, and marshes of New England

Here I’ll be sharing some photographs I’ve recently taken as well as some of my favorites from my forthcoming book Naturally Curious. I’ll be updating my blog periodically with new images, new stories, and more glimpses of New England in all seasons.

Seersucker Sedge

It’s hard to think of a plant that has a more appropriate common name than  seersucker sedge.  One look at its long (up to 12”), puckered leaves will quickly tell you why this is so.  Seersucker sedge (Carex plantaginea) is found growing on the forest floor, and it is just starting to send forth its dark flower stalks. This sedge is often mistaken for a species of grass. However, close examination will reveal that its stem is solid and triangular in cross-section, whereas grass stems are usually hollow, except for where the leaves attach (nodes). You may be familiar with the following ditty:

Sedges have edges

Rushes are round

Grasses are hollow

from the top to the ground.

For the most part, this verse is accurate, but if you’re trying to tell whether a plant is a grass, sedge or rush, you might want to consult the chart on this (Australian) site: http://www.murrumbidgee.cma.nsw.gov.au/downloads/fact_sheets/Grasses_Rushes___Sedges.pdf


Welcome to a photographic journey through the fields, woods, and marshes of New England

Here I’ll be sharing some photographs I’ve recently taken as well as some of my favorites from my forthcoming book Naturally Curious. I’ll be updating my blog periodically with new images, new stories, and more glimpses of New England in all seasons.

WOOD  DUCKS  RETURN

It’s always a good day when you can set eyes on a pair of wood ducks! Look for them in wooded swamps and ponds, where they are one of only seven species of North American waterfowl that nests in tree cavities. Their slim bodies enable them to use old pileated woodpecker holes as nest sites, and their large eyes enable them to maneuver with great skill among tree branches while in flight.


Welcome to a photographic journey through the fields, woods, and marshes of New England

Here I’ll be sharing some photographs I’ve recently taken as well as some of my favorites from my forthcoming book Naturally Curious. I’ll be updating my blog periodically with new images, new stories, and more glimpses of New England in all seasons.

PILEATED WOODPECKER  SCAT

Where you find oblong pileated woodpecker feeding holes in a tree, you usually also find carpenter ants inhabiting the tree. The inner wood, where the carpenter ants reside, provides structural, not nutrient, support to the tree. (Therefore, it’s possible for a living tree survive and be completely hollow.) If you find a tree where a pileated woodpecker has been working for quite some time, and there is a considerable pile of chips at its base, you can almost always find pileated scat – which usually consists of carpenter ant carcasses, and the occasional seed or two. If your curiosity is such that you enjoy discovering what an animal has eaten by examining its scat, these pileated piles of wood chips can be a goldmine.


Welcome to a photographic journey through the fields, woods, and marshes of New England

Here I’ll be sharing some photographs I’ve recently taken as well as some of my favorites from my forthcoming book Naturally Curious. I’ll be updating my blog periodically with new images, new stories, and more glimpses of New England in all seasons.

WINTER’S  TOLL

Most winters provide us with a white blanket of snow on which we can easily find signs of animals, including tracks, wing prints, scat, tunnels, etc. These signs are not so easy to detect once the snow melts; however, early spring is a good time to look for the remains of animals that died during the winter and were buried in the snow. Some of these have not had a chance yet to be recycled by rodents and scavengers. So far this spring has revealed to me the carcasses of white-tailed deer, a red fox, gray squirrel and the pictured raccoon. Always the collector, I find it can be a bonanza for the retrieval of skulls and bacula.


Welcome to a photographic journey through the fields, woods, and marshes of New England

Here I’ll be sharing some photographs I’ve recently taken as well as some of my favorites from my forthcoming book Naturally Curious. I’ll be updating my blog periodically with new images, new stories, and more glimpses of New England in all seasons.

FEMALE  AND  MALE  WOOD  FROG   SIZE  DISCREPANCY

At the risk of boring readers by featuring wood frogs two days in a row, I had to share a photograph I took this morning of an egg-laden female wood frog (on left in photograph) and a male wood frog (on right) – look at the difference in size! Yet unclasping his arms from under her chin as he lay on top of her, in order to photograph them separately, was a Herculean task. And yes, I felt guilty interrupting their amorous activity, but believe me, they resumed it as soon as they had the chance!


Welcome to a photographic journey through the fields, woods, and marshes of New England

Here I’ll be sharing some photographs I’ve recently taken as well as some of my favorites from my forthcoming book Naturally Curious. I’ll be updating my blog periodically with new images, new stories, and more glimpses of New England in all seasons.

WOOD  FROGS  ARE  BACK

It was fun to confirm with my own eyes today that wood frogs have, indeed, started to emerge from hibernation and are heading to vernal pools and other bodies of water to begin their breeding process. I have yet to hear (this year) the duck-like “quack” that the males serenade their potential mates with, but it won’t be long before we do.


Welcome to a photographic journey through the fields, woods, and marshes of New England

Here I’ll be sharing some photographs I’ve recently taken as well as some of my favorites from my forthcoming book Naturally Curious. I’ll be updating my blog periodically with new images, new stories, and more glimpses of New England in all seasons.

BIG  NIGHT !

Word has it that last night spotted salamanders, wood frogs and spring peepers were out crossing roads on their way to their ancestral breeding pools!