An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide – maryholland505@gmail.com

Archive for March 5, 2010

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

Here I’ll be sharing some of my favorite photographs 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.

COYOTE SCAT

Scat (animal droppings) is one of the signs that can tell you not only what animal has been around, but what they recently dined on. Finding it is not much of a trick in winter, as it is so obvious against the white snow, and is often deposited on a structure that sticks up, such as a stump along a trail or at the junction of two trails. Yesterday and today I was tracking coyotes, and came upon scat which certainly demonstrated how opportunistic a predator coyotes are. One scat (found in the middle of a snowmobile trail) was filled with what I believe are the hairs of a snowshoe hare, which is not surprising, seeing as their population is booming around here, and they are a main prey of coyotes. The other scat was as dark as the snowshoe hair scat was light – close examination leads me to believe it has to be the hair of a striped skunk – a vast majority of the hairs are pitch black, with an occasional white one thrown in. I have read that coyotes will occasionally prey on skunks, and skunks are definitely out and about now – but I ‘ll bet it isn’t the meal of choice.

 


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

Here I’ll be sharing some of my favorite photographs 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.

MOURNING DOVES SINGING

My favorite time of year is fast approaching…when every day is practically guaranteed to bring you a new sign of spring. Today I awoke to the mournful cooing of the mourning dove, a sound I haven’t heard in at least six months and which gives this bird its common name. Its song is an indication that courtship has begun. To me, one of the more interesting facts about this species is that, along with pigeons, their close relatives, both parents care for their young, and do so in a unique way. They feed their young a substance called “crop milk, ” which is secreted from the cells at the top of their crop (storage pouch off esophagus) wall.


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

Here I’ll be sharing some of my favorite photographs 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.

RED FOX NAPPING

If you remember, about a week ago I noticed that an animal had been removing earth and stones from an old fox den, and fox tracks covered the surrounding snow. Ever since, I’ve been craning my neck every time I drive past the field where the den is located, and today my vigilance paid off! Right beside the opening to the burrow a red fox was curled up, facing the large field and the dirt road I was on. Because of this, there is no way to closely approach the den site, so a glimpse from afar had to do. So nice to know that perhaps for a second summer in a row, there may be fox kits frolicking close by. In a month or two, there could be one to ten (usually five or six) gray, fuzzy pups inhabiting this den.