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Showing posts from May, 2018

The Outdoor Observer: Birds Are Sneaking Back

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May 2018
By Rebecca Roy, Conservation Education Coordinator 

There is great comfort in busy flocks of Chickadees in winter woods. Calling, hopping, curious little flocks of small black and white friends is a rare view of vibrant life in the bleak winter landscape. It seems a miracle they survive the harsh northern New England winter. This winter seemed harsher and longer, and we find greater delight in arrivals of our summer residents, the migratory birds.

We mark spring by the first calls of Red-winged Blackbirds here, these are followed by Phoebes and other flycatchers. We watch carefully for thrushes, and the first warblers. Yesterday I saw a Loon in Silver Lake State Park. Birds are sneaking back.
Everyone in Vermont is itching to get out on trails as soon as snow is melting in the dooryard. It is mud season now, when trails are most fragile and feet make the greatest impact. There are still wonderful safe places to hike to spot some of these early migratory bird arrivals.
I went to M…

Classic blog: Finding wildflowers in spring

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Despite the (shall we say) variable conditions so far this month, it's exactly that time of year to head into the woods and look for growing things! Spring ephemerals are the first flowers you will find in the woods, and favor deciduous hardwood forests. They are usually not large but hardy, and well adapted to withstand cold and variable conditions of early spring. Ephemerals bloom early, often before the snow has completely gone, and complete their life cycle before the trees leaf out, taking full advantage of full sunlight on the forest floor and insulation provided by least years' leaves on the ground.

Here are some spring ephemerals to watch for, and suggestions on where to look: Hepatica: This tiny, fresh-smelling flower is one of the very first to appear in the woody areas in spring. Hepatica grows low to the ground and can be pink, white, purple, or blue. If you look closely, you will see that hepatica is furry! These tiny hairs on the stem are another protection from …